Teenage Worker Mutilated, Factory Passed Disney Inspections

May 26, 2009, 17:54 ET from China Labor Watch

NEW YORK, May 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following release was issued today by China Labor Watch:

A 17-year-old worker was mutilated by unsafe equipment in a Disney-audited stationary factory in south China last month. Entertainment giant, Disney, guarantees safe conditions in supplier factories in their audits, but missed child labor and dangerous condition in Yiuwah Factory. China Labor Watch (CLW), a New York-based labor watchdog organization, alerted Disney last month after independently investigating the factory.

Following Chinese media buzz after the teenager, Liu Pan, died last month, CLW investigated the tragedy and labor conditions at Yiuwah. Liu Pan was crushed to death on the morning of April 5 when clearing jammed machinery and his body remained in the machine until the next evening. He was so mutilated that his parents did not recognize their son when called to the factory. Liu Pan worked on the machine since he was 14 or 15 years old.

According to the CLW report, workers at Yiuwah get only one or two days off each month, no paid vacation and no labor contract. Each day, workers must labor twelve hours and are paid 66 cents per hour base pay, making around $51 for a 72-hour week. Overtime is mandatory and wages for this forced overtime are illegally low at only 71 cents an hour, only around 60% of China's legal minimum for overtime wages.

On May 21, Senior Vice President for Corporate Responsibility at Disney, Jennifer Anopolosky, stated in a letter to CLW that Disney's audits at Yiuwah for the past three years, "all reported conditions that were consistent with our Code of Conduct." After reading CLW's report, Disney sent auditors to investigate and confirmed a number of violations to their Code of Conduct, including machine safety and child labor. Anopolosky stated that Disney is in the process of implementing a remediation plan.

In an open letter to Disney CEO Robert Iger on May 7, CLW Executive Director Li Qiang stated, "CLW strongly suspects that auditor corruption is at the root of the problem that has allowed Yiuwah to pass these inspections and achieve the Disney certification it so proudly displays on its website." Days later, Yiuwah pulled the "Disney Audited Manufacturer" label off of its Web site. Disney has not announced any changes to its auditing system.

Read more about China Labor Watch's work on this issue: www.chinalaborwatch.org.

SOURCE China Labor Watch