Search this siteMail usHomeSOMO
National initiativesPilotsResourcesRelated

Be aware Of Mickey -  BOM!Beware Of Mickey
Disney's Sweatshop in South China
A report by HKCIC Feb 2001

204kb) Report
28kb) Factory chart

Executive Summary

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.

Worker Profile:
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 dormitories.

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 scripts.

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