London 2012: Golden Bear probes Chinese Games mascot factory

London 2012 mascots
Image caption Soft toys are being made on behalf of London 2012 in China

The London 2012 Organising Committee (Locog) is probing claims about poor pay and conditions at a Chinese factory where toy Games mascots are being made.

Telford firm Golden Bear was awarded the contract to make toy versions of the mascots Mandeville and Wenlock in August 2010.

But the pay and conditions of the Chinese workers making the toys have been criticised in media reports.

Golden Bear and Locog said they were taking the allegations "seriously".

In a statement, Golden Bear Chairman John Hales said the firm was "extremely concerned".

"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," he said.

"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.

"We can confirm, however, that the factory in question has passed the ICTI (International Council of Toy Industries) care process inspection and that we will be working with the BTHA (British Toy and Hobby Association) ICTI care and other authorities in order to resolve any conditions that may have been breached."

A London 2012 spokesman said: "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."

Distribution jobs

He added allegations the London 2012 Organising Committee had been warned about pay and conditions at the factory before were not true.

When it was announced Golden Bear had won the contract, Mr Hales said the toys would be made in China but that the work would also create distribution jobs in Shropshire.

One mascot, Wenlock, was named after the Wenlock Olympian Games in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, which provided the inspiration for the modern Olympics.

The mascot for the London Paralympic Games has been named Mandeville, after the famous spinal injuries hospital in Buckinghamshire.

Golden Bear is planning to make bean toys, key rings and rucksacks based on the two characters.

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