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Olympic mascot maker rejects sweatshop claims (2)

(China Daily)

08:35, February 08, 2012

"The verdicts of local courts can prove that Zhu was not fired because of an industrial injury, about which he must have lied to VOA," Gu said.

He said that the factory had passed inspections from the International Council of Toy Industries and the Societe Generale de Surveillance SA, a Switzerland-based multinational company that provides inspection services.

The Yancheng factory is also an authorized manufacturer for the mascots of Disney and the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

John Hales, chairman of Golden Bear, the company that owns the license to produce the official mascots for the London Olympics and Paralympics, also confirmed in a statement that the factory has passed inspections.

"Founded in 1997, our factory has a long history in producing mascots with high quality, and our 72 workers have a neat working environment and relatively good salaries," Gu said.

The monthly salary of an employee who is not absent from work is about 2,000 yuan in the factory, Gu said.

Xia Senlin, a 30-year-old woman who has worked for Rainbow since September 2008, said that her salary was 2,158 yuan in November 2011. She worked 26 days that month.

"My salary in December 2011 was 3,696 yuan, and we work from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, with a noon break," said Wu Chunping, who is 36 years old and has worked for Rainbow since May 2006.

Workers in the factory make 5.16-5.94 yuan for every Wenlock and Mandeville doll produced, said Gu. "The Sun's report that workers only get 18 pence per item is untrue."

However, he admitted that the factory does not interfere if some unskilled workers choose to work overtime to finish their workload.

"The Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, which made the report upon which The Sun based its coverage, may face lawsuits if the situation continues to deteriorate," Gu said.

"It is untrue to label our factory a sweatshop, and we can stand up to scrutiny," Gu said.

A 2012 London Olympic Games spokesman said that an independent monitor has been asked to carry out a comprehensive investigation and review the allegations of a breach of workers' rights.

Golden Bear is also launching its own investigation into the allegations, saying that it will work with the British Toy and Hobby Association, the International Council of Toy Industries and other authorities in the process.

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