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December 3, 2009

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Lax safety charge hits Disney plants

WALT Disney (Shanghai) said it will investigate five Walt Disney original equipment manufacturers in Guangdong Province after they were accused of poor safety standards, failing to compensate employees for work-related injuries and paying reduced wages for overtime work.

Seven university students worked at the five factories earlier this year and compiled a report titled "Mickey Mouse Is No Longer Lovable" based on interviews with 100 workers at the Disney OEM plants, Shanghai Morning Post said yesterday.

The students' report said the five OEM plants had five accidents in a month but that none of the victims had received a medical certificate detailing their industrial injuries. The certificate is used to determine compensation the company should pay injured workers.

Tao Xianjin, manager of one of the factories, denied the accusation and said his plant had never received any complaints.

"What the seven students did was not objective," Tao said.

The students were from Jiangxi Agricultural University and Nanchang University in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi Province.

Li Wen, head of the student team, told the newspaper that an accident at a Disney OEM plant in Guangdong's Dongguan City as well as the final approval of a Disney theme park in Shanghai inspired them to release their report of working conditions at Disney's OEM factories.

Li and the others started work in five Disney factories in May and completed their report in June.

A female worker had one of her index fingers punctured by a needle on a machine while working on a production line producing plush toys at Fushui Zhengrun factory, the report said.

The factory paid her medical expenses, but not for her time off work. It did not compensate her for the injury either, the report said.

Workers at Yaohua Stationery Factory's craftsmanship department were exposed to harmful chemicals and were not provided masks or gloves, according to the report.

Some workers at Jiahui toy factory were paid 300 yuan (US$44) monthly, while the city set the minimum wage at 770 yuan. They reportedly had only two days off a month.


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