Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Toy maker 'breaching worker rights'

London 2012 Olympics mascot Wenlock (right) and Paralympic mascot Mandeville

An investigation is under way into claims that cuddly toy versions of the Olympic mascots are being made by workers suffering poor conditions in a Chinese factory.

Golden Bear, based in Telford, Shropshire, is making Olympic products based on Wenlock and Mandeville - the official mascots of the Olympics and Paralympics.

But an inquiry has been launched into allegations that workers at the Chinese factory which is making the toys for Golden Bear is breaching workers' rights.

Both the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Locog) and Golden Bear are investigating claims that workers are labouring for up to 11.5 hours a day for as little as 26p an hour.

A London 2012 spokesman said they place a high priority on "environmental, social and ethical issues" when securing goods and services and are taking the allegations "extremely seriously".

He said: "We have asked our independent monitor to carry out a comprehensive investigation and review of these allegations. The outcome of this investigation will be made public as soon as it is concluded.

"We have contacted all of our licensees to reiterate to them the importance we place on the sustainable sourcing code they have each signed up to."

Golden Bear said it was also conducting an immediate investigation but confirmed that the factory in question had passed inspections by the International Council of Toy Industries.

The company's statement said: "Golden Bear is extremely concerned about recent reports that a factory involved in a small amount of the production of the company's Olympic product could be in breach of workers' rights.

"We are a family-run business that takes these issues very seriously indeed and has in place certificates of compliance at all factories used to produce our products. We are therefore in the process of conducting an immediate investigation and will be able to comment on these findings as soon as they are known to us."

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