The Sun claims that poor Romanian families are working up to 13 hours per day in their own homes to assemble the small plastic toys for Kinder Eggs. Likewise, Romanian children as young as six years old are involved in this backbreaking work in return for pitiful pay, the equivalent of just 22 pence an hour. The father of some of the children involved in putting the toys together stated that this is slave labour, News.ro informs.
For each 1,000 toys assembled, a family receives around RON 20, the equivalent of just GBP 3.77.
The products are then taken to the Ferrero plant in Carei. The middlemen are selling the assembled toys for 80 pence apiece.
“If the bosses at Ferrero knew what was going on in Romania they would have a heart attack. Ferrero may not be getting what they pay for and middle men somewhere must be making a killing off the back of people treated like slaves,” an anonymous Ferrero source said.
The Jurj family is involved in this process. Timea (30), her husband Christian (41) as well as children Patrick (11) and Hannah (6) are taking part in assembling Kinder Eggs.
“It’s slave labour but what else can you do when you have no choice. When you see the way we live here you must understand why it is our dream to come to the UK,” Christian Jurj told The Sun.
It seems the family receives the eggs and the plastic toys from Prolegic, a subcontractor for Romexa SA. Romexa SA representatives have stated they had no idea the company they subcontracted was sending the eggs to be assembled in the homes of poor families.
Children’s mother: It’s a set up
The credibility of the article published by The Sun is starting to be questioned, after the mother of the children featured in the article has stated that this was a set up and she did not understand the whole conversation that took place, in English, with British journalists, Digi24 informs.
Likewise, Timea Jurj claims that her two children are not working 13 hours per day as claimed, and that many of their answers were changed by the authors of the article. Timea Jurj also stated that the British journalists promised her husband a job in England. Contacted by B1TV and questioned about the so-called article, The Sun journalists stated they will carry out verifications.
This is the second time this year that a British media organization has presented Romania in a not at all favourable light. Several months ago, several Romanians were arrested after they appeared in a SkyNews story, with lots of invented things, on arms trafficking.
Ferrero Rocher reacts: We have a Code of Conduct that forbids child labour
Ferrero Rocher, the company that produces Kinder Eggs, has reacted after The Sun published an article claiming a Romanian family, including a six-year-old child, is working 13 hours per day assembling the toys for Kinder Eggs, in return for pitiful pay.
“We are horrified and very concerned about the accusations of unacceptable practices in Romania, regarding the activity of one of our suppliers, and we have immediately ordered an investigation to urgently establish the facts. Ferrero has a strict Code of Conduct for suppliers, and this is a condition of the contract,” the company told Digi24.
Ferrero Rocher pointed out that this code strictly forbids child labour and all suppliers must pay their employees at least the minimum salary established at local or national level and must also pay any extra hours. All suppliers are verified to see whether they observe this code, the company added.
“The most recent audit was carried out at Romexa and its subcontractor Prolegis in May 2016, and it showed that the two companies were observing this Code of Conduct,” claims Ferrero Rocher.