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    « CNN.com: Money for (almost) nothing: Fat paychecks for very little work | Main | Reason.com: Welfare Mouse »
    Sunday
    Dec232007

    The Sunday Times: Disney toys made in ‘sweatshops’

    FACTORY staff making some of Walt Disney’s most popular Christmas toys are working up to 18 hours a day for as little as 16p an hour, an investigation has found.

    Workers at the factories in southern China also claim they have had to stay in cramped dormitories housing up to 16 people and that they are fined if they spend more than five minutes in the lavatory. At one factory they receive just one day off a month.

    The factories make Minnie Mouse toys and soft toys based on the Tigger and Eeyore characters from Disney’s Winnie the Pooh films. Disney’s British stores sell Chinese-made toys of these characters for up to £60, but it is not known if this includes any toys produced at the two factories investigated.

    John Hilary, director of policy at War on Want, said: “These toys have been produced as a result of the exploitation of some of the poorest people in the world.”

    Disney said neither factory was an authorised manufacturer and investigations were ongoing.

    The Sunday Times investigated the factories — Yonglida Toys in the city of Dongguan and Haowei Toys in Shenzhen — after a tip-off from Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (Sacom), a Hong Kong- based human rights organisation.

    Haowei was investigated by Disney after ex-workers launched a legal action in May. Workers subsequently went on strike over conditions in September.

    Over the past two weeks a Sunday Times reporter carried out a series of interviews with workers at the factories. At Yonglida, workers said they can be on the production lines from 7.30am to 2am and are paid 700-1,000 yuan a month (£47-£68), about half the average wage in China, according to official figures.

    They also said that their 16- man dormitories had no hot water in the evenings and filthy toilets, even though they paid the company about £8.20 a month for food and accommodation.

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