Shanghai, Jan 24(ANI): Employees, including teenagers, at a securely- guarded factory in Shanghai toil for a pitiful 1.90 pounds a day making Zakumi figures, the official mascot for the FIFA World Cup.
The official trinket, depicting the dreadlocked leopard Zakumi, is worth 30 pounds in Britain, while the workers in China would have to work for two weeks to buy one.
Conditions at the Shanghai Fashion Plastic Products factory, which has permission from South African tournament organizers and FIFA to make 2.3 million mascots, are tough to cope with.
Freezing winter temperatures and swelteringly hot summers, make it extremely difficult for the workers to survive in the factory.
They receive a basic monthly wage of just 800 yuan (72 pounds), of which 160 yuan (14.50 pounds) are deducted for bed and board in grim four-bed dormitories, giving them a take-home wage of just 1.90 pounds a day.
"It is one of the worst factory around here in terms of pay and the bosses are horrible. They're very strict," News of the World quoted Yuli Qing, former worker, as saying.
A 23-year-old female worker added: "I work really hard and spend 13 hours a day in the factory, but I only make 1,000 yuan (90 pounds) a month. One month I worked 30 days out of 31 and did overtime every day and I still only made 1,200 yuan (108 pounds)."
The firm's Chief Executive Officer David Lau has said that organizers and FIFA gave them permission for production after visiting the factory four times. He also claimed that FIFA insisted the firm to pay it 17 per cent of the wholesale cost of the figures upfront.
The employees have a further disadvantage as there is no national minimum wage in China, and those paid at the factory comply with guidelines for the region.
Meanwhile, FIFA has said that they will investigate the nature of the allegations and take the necessary measures if needed. (ANI)