Disney's Sweatshop in South China
A report by HKCIC Feb 2001
28kb) Factory chart
About the Study:
In March-November 2000, the Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee
(CIC) investigated working conditions in 12 Disney contract factories
in Guangdong province in southern China. Six were toy factories, two
garment, three accessory, and one watch factory. Some are regular suppliers
to Disney, and some are seasonal suppliers. All were producing for Disney
during the investigation period. Most of the products manufactured in
the factories were for export to North America and Europe. The CIC interviewed
five to 15 workers from each factory.
The vast majority of workers in the 12 factories are young, single,
female, migrant workers from rural areas in inland provinces. Most are
between the ages of 18 and 30, though some are as young as 16.
General Findings and Recommendations:
Although Disney claims that its code of conduct and so-called "independent"
monitoring system are ensuring respect for workers' right in its supply
factories in China and other countries, the CIC study found that violations
of the Disney code of conduct and Chinese labor law were commonplace.
Those violations include: excessively long hours of work, poverty wages,
unreasonable fines, workplace hazards, poor food, and dangerously overcrowded
The study also found that few workers interviewed were familiar with
the Disney code of conduct and monitoring system, and that workers who
had been exposed to the code and/or interviewed by monitors were often
subjected to threats and intimidation to falsify work records or answer
monitors' questions "properly" according to management-prepared
The study concludes that Disney's code of conduct and monitoring system
are ineffective and of little use to workers.
The report recommends that Disney do the following:
Promote workers' rights training at the workplace.
Actively involve workers in the on-going workplace monitoring process.
Provide accessible and trustworthy channels (e.g. letter boxes in
factories with prepaid postal envelopes) for workers to lodge complaints
to the company and other interested third parties.
Guarantee that there will be no retaliation against workers who make
complaints. And strictly monitor compliance with, and assist their suppliers
to comply with, national labour laws and the Disney Code. Instead of
simply cutting and running whenever violations are uncovered, the company
should work with non-compliant factories to improve working conditions
and labour practices.
Disclose all information on its suppliers for public scrutiny.
No name of the factories investigated is disclosed in the report at
this time in order to ensure that Disney or its suppliers do not use
the report to penalize the contracting factories thus doubly victimizing
the workers. The CIC will continue to monitor the factories and consider
taking stronger actions if factory conditions remain unchanged