Three factories in southern China that make Disney merchandise allegedly underpay their workers, overwork them and only selectively buy health or accident insurance for their employees, a survey released yesterday said.
The report by the Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) investigated the Huangxing light manufacturing and Qisheng candle factories in Shenzhen and the Jianlong toy factory in Zhuhai, all located near Hong Kong.
The survey, based on interviews with workers, said all three factories pay below the minimum wage. It said Huangxing and Qisheng pay an average hourly wage of 3.41 yuan (US$0.43) and 2.19 yuan, respectively, below the minimum of 4.02 yuan required in Shenzhen.
It said Jianlong paid an hourly wage of 2.04 yuan, below Zhuhai's minimum of 4.12 yuan.
SACOM said Huangxing is Japanese-owned and employs 1,000 workers; Hong Kong businessmen own Qisheng and employ 500 people; Jianlong is owned by Macau business interests and has 800 to 1,000 workers on its payroll.
The report said workers at the three factories worked overtime ranging from 60 to 136 hours per month, in violation of Chinese law, which only allows 36 hours of monthly overtime.
The Huangxing factory's telephone number wasn't listed. Men who answered the phone at the Qisheng and Jianlong factories said no one was available for comment.
In a statement, The Walt Disney Co (Asia Pacific) Ltd didn't address the allegations in detail.
"When factory audits, or information otherwise brought to us by third parties, reveal noncompliance with our [labor standards] code, we seek to work with the factory and, if appropriate, the vendor or licensee concerned to develop a remediation plan to bring its operations into compliance with our code,'' the statement said.
At the Qisheng factory, workers allegedly were paid late, receiving their pay for March this year on May 10. Jianlong factory reportedly banned ill workers from taking sick leave when they had to rush to fill orders.
The survey alleged that the Jianlong factory only bought medical or accident insurance for some employees for show when there was an audit, the Qisheng factory didn't buy insurance at all and the Huangxing factory only recently started buying insurance for its employees.
SACOM said conditions at workers' living quarters at the Jianlong factory were poor, with 12 people housed per room, 15 rooms per floor, and one shower and one toilet per floor.
"These results show the incompetence of corporate monitoring of labor standards," the report concluded.
A report issued by SACOM last year found similar abuses at four other Disney suppliers in China.