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Allegations of dangerous work conditions, overwork and underpayment in mainland factories manufacturing merchandise for Hong Kong Disneyland will be investigated, the theme park’s officials said.

Disney’s response came after a group of Hong Kong students and scholars claimed in a 29-page report that factory workers in Dongguan, Shenzhen and Zhongshan are being abused by their bosses.

Disneyland spokesperson Alannah Goss said Thursday: “Disney takes these claims very seriously. We were not aware of the violations that have been mentioned in the factories and we will investigate these claims diligently.”

The group teamed up with Disney Hunter, an SAR concern group which keeps an eye on the labor practices of Hong Kong Disneyland.

They alleged the company shirked its corporate and social responsibilities by neglecting to look into what they described as the deprivation of mainland workers. Their accusations followed four months of research.

Goss said if the company’s own investigation reveals the factories are abusing their workers, “we will terminate our contract with the factories.”

But the concern group’s chief coordinator, Billy Hung, said termination of the contract would mean the workers would lose their jobs.

“We hope Disney will talk to the contractors to see how to protect the interests of the workers, rather than terminate the contracts,” he said.

According to the report, Disney’s mainland contractors often force workers to put in long hours under dangerous working conditions.

Hung said the group had documented the plight of workers at four printing factories across the border, adding

that Disney should have checked out the factories before awarding the contracts.

“If they had looked into the factories earlier, they would have found out they are treating their workers illegally,” Hung claimed.

One of the factories named in the report, Hung Hing Printing Group, which has offices in Shenzhen and Zhongshan, denied it underpays and overworks its workers.

“We have complied with the labor ordinance of China. We are now following up this issue and have no further comment to make,” a spokesman said.

According to the report, workers in four factories are underpaid, receiving an hourly wage of 2.7 yuan (HK$2.59) instead of the legal wage of 3.33 to 3.43 yuan.

The employees also worked between 260 and 312 hours a month, which exceeds the 100 hours overtime set by the government. However, no overtime pay is given, the report alleged.

More important are the dangerous working conditions in the factories, which do not provide proper training in use of the equipment, which has resulted in workers suffering broken fingers, the report claimed.

“This is a very common injury among the workers,” research-team member Vivian Yau said.

She claimed those who were injured were not compensated because the factory owners did not inform the insurance companies due to the no-claims bonuses in the policies.

“It’s really horrible. The employers would just take the injured staff to the hospital to have the wounds bandaged,” Yau said.

The report urged Disney to be more socially responsible and name factories which are violating the law.

“Consumers will then have the chance to know if they are buying merchandise from an unethical factory,” Hung said.

“Other multi-national corporations, including Adidas, publish annual reports on the number of workers injured, as well as naming those factories violating the law,” he said.