Australia's Telstra linked to rights abuses in China | Asia Pacific

Australia's Telstra linked to rights abuses in China

Australia's Telstra linked to rights abuses in China

Updated 21 June 2012, 22:05 AEST

A US-based labour rights group is urging executives from the Australian telecommunications company Telstra to travel to China and confront its phone supplier over working conditions.

The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights has released a report describing what it calls "brutal sweatshop" conditions in VTech factories in China's Guangdong Province.

The group alleges workers have jumped to their death as recently as last year and that the factories breach many Chinese labour laws.

In 2009, the company VTech signed a deal with Telstra to provide fixed-line phones. It is also the world's largest supplier of cordless phones.

VTech has licensing agreements with Motorola and AT&T and also supplies products for the brands Sony and Philips.

In a statement, a spokesman for Telstra told Radio Australia the company is deeply concerned by the reports.

"Compliance with the law is mandatory for all our suppliers. We are looking into the matter. Labour misuse is totally unacceptable to us and we will take appropriate action," the statement said.

Correspondent: Liam Cochrane

Speaker: Charles Kernaghan, Director, Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights

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