A chocolate factory in Australia has been forced to close its doors after the workers who were forced to work for the factory said they were forced into forced labour and had to work in appalling conditions.
The Australian Workers Union said the chocolate factory had been shuttered for five years and that workers had been treated as second-class citizens.
The union said the workers had not been paid for five months of their working time, and were forced by their employers to work on Christmas Day.
They had no choice The workers had no option but to work until they had enough to buy food and drink.
They were also not allowed to leave the factory until they were paid.
The factory closed on December 23 after the Australian Government imposed a ban on all chocolate exports.
The workers said they had been forced into “forced labour”, which they had not agreed to.
The chocolate workers had to use forced labour, which they were not paid, the union said.
It is alleged that they worked as domestic workers in the chocolate factories, which had factories all around Australia.
They said they would be forced to spend the next five months working in appalling working conditions.
“I have been working in chocolate for two years, I had a few months of holiday left, and now I am not going to have Christmas,” one of the workers told the ABC.
The group said the company had forced the workers to work without pay, and that they were told they were no longer able to leave until they could secure an exit.
The ABC spoke to two of the factory’s workers, one of whom said they worked in the factory for four months and said he was paid $1,000 a month.
“They said I had to go home on Christmas day.
I said, I am going to be home on Monday and I am no longer going to work,” he said.
“We are just not allowed in the building, and they said, well you are no longer allowed to go to the toilet.”
“I am scared,” he told the program.
“If I go out and do the same thing I can lose my job.
If I go back in, I will lose my whole company.”
The ABC contacted the Australian Workers’ Union and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for comment.
The two companies involved, Jardine Chocolate and Creme Egg, have been contacted for comment, but did not respond.
The APSA said it was working with the Australian Labor Party to investigate the allegations.
Jardina Chocolate Australia said it did not comment on individual workers’ claims.
Creme Eggs said the allegations were false and it had “zero tolerance” for forced labour.
“Creme Eggs has a zero tolerance policy on forced labour at its Australian chocolate production facilities,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“The Creme egg supplier that is alleged to have committed these appalling acts in Australia was given a warning by the Australian Department of Industry and Innovation last year.
This warning was followed by an ongoing and robust review of all operations and facilities at Creme eggs,” the spokesperson said.
Cremes eggs was also contacted for a comment, which was not returned.
A spokeswoman for the ABC told the outlet that the organisation was working closely with the ABC to understand the allegations, but could not provide any further information at this stage.
The government ban on chocolate exports has sparked protests around the world.
Activists have protested outside the Australian embassy in London, where Australia’s trade minister is based.
The protests come after a report by the ABC’s Four Corners program said there was a shortage of cocoa beans in Australia.