HONG KONG – The Walt Disney Co. has sent a team to investigate allegations of labor abuse at one of its factories making stuffed toys in southern China, the entertainment giant said Wednesday.
Hong Kong-based labor activists had alleged that hundreds of workers at the Tianyu Toys factory in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan were working up to 16 hours a day with only two days off a month.
"During the peak season, before Christmas, workers at the factory start at 8 a.m. and don't finish until midnight," Jenny Chan, an activist with the Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, told The Associated Press last week.
The group said it had carried out an undercover survey of the factory and that employees had spoken of forced overtime and below legal pay. The factory owner denied staff were being mistreated.
Alannah Goss, spokeswoman for Walt Disney Co. (Asia Pacific) Ltd., confirmed that Tianyu Toys supplied goods to some of its licensees.
She said a team of local auditors had been sent to the factory to investigate the claims and that they would be able to report back within the coming days. "Whenever we hear of these allegations, we take them very seriously," she said.
The activist group has previously accused factories in southern China that are churning out goods for Disney and other global brands of overworking laborers and skimping on pay and benefits.
It calls for Disney to engage with factory management and improve practices, rather than cancel orders, which could lead to workers losing their jobs.