Locog are investigating allegations that soft toy versions of the London 2012 mascots (Wenlock and Mandeville) are being made by poorly paid workers in a Chinese factory.
Golden Bear, based in Telford, has a licence to produce them. However, an inquiry has been launched after media reports about the pay and conditions of the workers making the toys at a factory in China.
AFP reports that Golden Bear and the London organisers, LOCOG, said they were taking "seriously" the allegations that workers making the mascots were working for more than 11 hours a day for as little as 26 pence an hour.
Locog are quoted:
"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 (ICTI).
Golden Bear are quoted:
"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."
In March 2010 I wrote the following:
"Olympic chiefs are keen to emphasise the legacy of the London Olympics 2012.
What they haven't specified until now is exactly which country's legacy they mean.
This question has now been answered, it is China's economic legacy that is being underpinned by the London Olympics.
That at least is the conclusion to be drawn from the announcement that a Chinese company has been picked to make special lapel pins for the 2012 games, British companies claim that they were denied the chance to even bid."
It is a pity that Locog did not heed this warning, had it done so it might have saved itself some embarrassment.
Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics
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