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Friday, 8 September, 2000, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
McDonalds sacks Chinese toy maker
Protester
Campaigners threatened to boycott the burger chain
A factory in southern China has been told to stop producing toys for the burger giant McDonalds, after investigators found that it had breached a code protecting workers' rights.

Independent monitors were called in after a Hong Kong newspaper reported that the factory - in the southern town of Shenzhen - was paying children as young as 14 the equivalent of $3 to work a 16-hour day.

Snoopy toy
Production of Snoopy and other toys has been halted
The monitors said interviews with 500 staff at the factory had failed to reveal evidence of child labour.

But they did find wage and working-hour infringements, as well as other problems such as poor training, which violate the code of conduct for McDonalds' suppliers.

A pressure group in Hong Kong, the Christian Industrial Committee, says that child labourers were locked in toilets and dormitories while the investigators visited the factory.

Popular toys

The investigations were launched after the group and the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post alleged that the factory was using child labour.

Production of popular figures such as Snoopy, Winnie the Pooh and Hello Kitty has now been halted.

The Christian Industrial Committee says it fears more such cases may come to light after China's entry to the World Trade Organisation.

It says that, while China's labour laws are strong, enforcement is weak, particularly in smaller factories, and there may be more cases where workers are exploited.

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14 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
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