This is an independent case report documenting a series of violations of labor rights in a manufacturer of Disney-branded products in mainland China, namely Mizutani (Shenzhen) Toy Factory Co. Ltd. This case demonstrates how Walt Disney has not been successful in fulfilling its corporate citizenship goals for managing a responsible supply chain. It is important for the public especially the customers to pay attention to the workers’ sufferings behind the Disney-branded products.
The primarily evidence collection and analysis of this report has been prepared by Worker Empowerment (WE) since the second collective dispute broke out in June 2015 and completed jointly with Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU). All the information on the labor disputes of Mizutani were compiled from first hand sources from Mizutani workers, official and public record on the company profile, laws and regulations as well as views from experts.
Mizutani (Shenzhen) Toy Factory Co. Ltd., a Hong Kong-registered enterprise producing for Tokyo Disneyland since 1997, announced its sudden closure and relocation to the Philippines in June 2015. A total of 9 million yuan of severance compensation, social insurance and housing provident fund payments covering 196 employees has been in arrears. The livelihood of Mizutani workers, among which a lot of them are middle-aged and find looking for a new job challenging, is seriously affected by the sudden change.
Worker Empowerment (WE) and the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) have been assisting Mizutani workers in their protests against Mizutani and Disney and subsequent rounds of negotiations. So far Mizutani simply agree to settle the dispute with one tenth of the compensation to which workers are entitled according to the Labour Contract Law and Social Insurance Law, and workers refuse to accept such an unlawful compensation. Disney in Japan and USA has remained silence since a symbolic meeting with WE and HKCTU in mid-July 2015, regardless of repeated demands for their intervention.
This case demonstrates how Disney has failed to fulfill its corporate responsibility. The report titled “Suppliers Escaped: Disney Abandoned Mizutani Toy Makers Viciously” jointly published by WE and HKCTU aims at disclosing how Mizutani and Disney violate Chinese labour regulations and its betrayal to frontline workers. It is important for the general public, especially customers of Disney-branded products, to pay attention to workers’ suffering behind them.
The full report is available for download.
The Labour Contract Law of China, which aims at regulating employment and protecting workers’ legally abided rights, has been in controversy since its implementation in 2008. Recent trends in industries, such as factory relocation from well-developed coastal areas due to industrial upgrade and the subsequent labour disputes, also the employment of dispatched workers becoming popular in factories, show the need to strengthen legal protection for workers. An amendment of the Labour Contract Law was introduced in July 2013 to serve this function, but the effectiveness is yet to be observed.
As a grassroots labour organisation based in the Pearl River Delta, Worker Empowerment concerns about the welfare of workers in the manufacturing sector and supports their right-defending efforts. Therefore, following our long-time interest in the Labour Contract Law, a survey to investigate its implementation in the Pearl and Yangtze River Deltas was conducted in 2014, in order to have a better understanding of how the law works to protect workers, particularly the dispatched ones.
The full report is available for download.
How Should Minimum Wage Promise a Decent Living for Workers? Report Abstract Shenzhen Dagongzhe Migrant Worker Centre February 2013 (click here for full report: 2013年調查報告 最低工资应如何保障工人体面生活) As a grassroots civil organisation concerning migrant workers in Shenzhen, the Shenzhen Dagongzhe Migrant Worker Centre (hereafter Dagongzhe) have been paying attention to work and living conditions of […]
The following community report, which discusses the conditions of occupational safety and health in China and NGOs’ strategies to tackle the problems, was first presented in the annual meeting of Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV) in India in November 2011, by representatives from Labour Education and Service Network (LESN) and Worker Empowerment (WE).
（click for full report with summary in Chinese: 2009年《劳动合同法》实施情况研究报告） The first survey on the implementation of China’s Labour Contract Law (LCL) in the Pearl River Delta region (PRD) was conducted by Dagongzhe Centre (DGZ) in April 2008. The DGZ conducted a follow up survey from 17 April to 20 May 2009. The survey this time […]