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Disney severs contract with Chinese toy factory over alleged labour abuses

Walt Disney Co has ceased doing business with one Chinese toy maker and put another on notice following reports of labour violations.

Disney, the world’s largest entertainment company, said in a memo posted on its website that it would no longer allow the Dongguan Qing Xi Juantiway Plastic Factory to make products featuring the company’s characters. The violations had been flagged by China Labour Watch, a New York-based non-profit organisation that monitors manufacturing abroad.

Hong Kong firm making Disney toys in China under investigation for mistreating workers

“Our investigation has revealed that Dongguan Qing Xi Juantiway Plastic Factory failed to remediate hiring and human resource issues identified during an investigation of the facility last year, despite our encouragement of remediation and their contractual requirements to us,” Disney said in the memo, without providing more details.

The Burbank, California-based company also said Lam Sun Toy Limited was failing to meet expectations regarding accurate record-keeping, health, fire safety and human resources practices. Lam Sun will have the chance to fix those issues before Disney terminates its relationship, the memo said.

Labour standards abroad are a perennial problem for US companies that depend on foreign partners to make so many products sold around the world. The challenges of policing foreign plants are compounded by the fact that a company the size of Disney may license its brands to hundreds of vendors, who then contract separately with the manufacturers.

Disney has maintained an International Labour Standards programme since 1996 to work with companies and governments to prevent abuses. A staff of 120 people in 12 countries helps improve working conditions in over 30,000 factories, according to a company website. About 28 per cent of those plants were located in China.

Labour groups criticise Disney over worker conditions at China suppliers

China Labour Watch released a 123-page report last year detailing what it said were labour violations at five Chinese toy plants that do business with Disney and other companies.

In a 40-page report in June, the organisation said Lam Sun only hired women for assembly jobs, forcing them to work 90 overtime hours a month, in excess of local limits.

Workers lacked safety equipment and training, the report said. Products made by the plant include Frozen merchandise.