Telstra Pulls VTech Phones After Alleged 'Sweatshop' Factory Conditions Exposed [Updated]

Telstra is reportedly pulling its VTech fixed phones off the shelves today after a report into the factory where the devices are made revealed allegedly appalling working conditions.

The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights described the factory, situated in China's Guandong Province, as a "brutal sweatshop" yesterday according to the Australia Network.

Telstra has a contract with VTech to provide fixed-line phones to customers.

The conditions were so bad that the institute recommended Telstra fly out to see the conditions for themselves, before presumably dumping the manufacturer.

Today, Current reports that Telstra has pulled the trigger on VTech, ordering staff to pull phones from shelves.

VTech will reportedly be making a statement shortly.

Update: VTech has made that statement:

VTech Holdings Ltd today responded to certain allegations made by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights regarding operations of its factories in mainland China. The Group categorically rejects these allegations and is now considering taking appropriate legal action.

VTech is a responsible and caring employer wherever it has operations, and this includes mainland China. The Group and its subsidiaries abide strictly by the legal requirements relating to employment in all jurisdictions where it operates, including mainland China. Emphasis is placed on people-oriented management to ensure harmonious staff relations, especially in the Group’s manufacturing facilities. VTech takes care to ensure that the work environment is safe and that employees are adequately housed and cared for.

VTech is widely acknowledged for its excellent human resources management and has a long track record of good labour relations in mainland China, where it is a pioneer among Hong Kong companies in establishing operations and where it currently employs approximately 33,000 people.

[Current via Australia Network]


Comments

    Good on Telstra - we need more companies following suit!

      That would be 50% of the companies in the world.

        well i know of only a few - is there a site who collates this information? where can i learn more?

        in any case, 50% is still 50% that are not doing it.

      This brings home the unfortunate reality that if you want tech cheap, someone has to pay ,and it is always the workers. I never thought I would say this but, telstra did the right thing.

    if they didnt they would loose a ton of business.

    For anyone interested, VTech has released a statement, denying all allegations (surprise surprise).

    http://www.vtech.com/en/press/press-release/2012/456-media-statement

    You hint but don't say -- did Telstra in fact take up the suggestion to fly to China and inspect the factory themselves? VTech's statement denying the allegations would be severely weakened if Telstra came to the same conclusions as the initial report.

    While poor conditions should not be rewarded, cutting and running is not necessarily the best option for the workers. Brands can have a big impact requiring factories to improve conditions, and holding orders until the improvements are verified by unannounced investigative audits (perhaps by the NGO again), and worker hotlines.

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