Claims that in-flight disposable headphones were made by abused inmates in Chinese prisons are being investigated by Qantas.

A report in the Australian Financial Review said the headphones were also made for British Airways and Emirates.

The newspaper spoke to former inmates in a prison in China who claimed that prisoners were made to work long hours and were often beaten.

They said that they were paid only $1.30 (£0.85) a month.

A Qantas spokesman said the carrier was “very concerned by these allegations” and had suspended its use of the supplier until an investigation was carried out.

BA told the BBC that it was committed to ensuring the highest standards in its procurement process and that only “credited factories” with “ethical codes of practice” were used to produce the headsets.

“Our supplier has made it abundantly clear that it has never used prisons in China to produce any BA headsets,” a spokesman said.

An Emirates spokesman said that the airline was satisfied there was “no evidence of any unethical practices in the headset manufacturing process”.

The Financial Review alleged that inmates in Dongguan Prison in the Guangdong province were regularly beaten and held in solitary confinement for failing to meet production targets.

Danny Cancian, a New Zealander released from Dongguan Prison last year, told the newspaper that he made disposable ­headphones for Qantas, BA and Emirates.