Made from the droplets of steel used to build the Olympic stadium or the tears of exploited factory workers? An investigation has been launched into the production of toys of 2012 mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, after concerns over conditions in their Chinese factories.
Production on a line of soft toys of the loveable/collectable duo, currently starring in new animation “Out of a Rainbow”, is being investigated by the London 2012 Organizing Committee (LOCOG). Concerns had emerged regarding conditions within the factories, with reports of poor pay and harsh working conditions for the employees in China. Reports allege that staff are being paid as little as 26p an hour to manufacture the toys. And you thought your job was bad.
Telford based firm Golden Bear, which won the license to produce the merchandise, said such claims were being taken “very seriously.” The stated that the factory in question had passed the ICTI (International Council of Toy Industries) care process, and they would be working to resolve any breached conditions.
With all licensees having signed up to LOCOG’s Sustainable Sourcing Code, agreeing to fair trade practices, the allegations could prove embarrassing. The Olympic committee will be keen to avoid a repeat of 2010’s Foxconn incident, where a wave of suicides at a factory in Shenzhen, southern China launched a wave of criticism of the factory’s high-profile clients, Apple amongst them. Wenlock and Mandeville themselves have also been keen to avoid the spotlight after their £850 school appearance fee failed to find a single customer. The price of fame boys eh?