The Guardian 26 October, 2005

Time Warner
exploits child labour in Mexico

A group of young, mostly female workers in Hidalgo, Mexico, some as young as 13-years-old, who have made Harry Potter and other Halloween costumes with Warner Brother logos, have been illegally locked out for protesting against child labour violations, unsafe and unjust working conditions, and the company’s refusal to recognise their collective bargaining agreement.

Time Warner, through its subsidiary Warner Brothers, has given Rubie’s Costume Company of New York City, the world’s largest costume company, the rights to produce Halloween costumes such as "Harry Potter", "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings".

Rubie’s exports the Warner Brothers brand costumes to North America and Western Europe.

Worksite violations such as child labour, forced pregnancy testing, horrible sanitary conditions and frequent workplace accidents have yet to be addressed through the workers’ union. Time Warner has not taken strong steps to insist that Rubie’s correct these violatons and reinstate the workers.

Workers are demanding that Time Warner ensure the following points are met, or else suspend business with Rubie’s in Mexico until a fair resolution is reached:

1. Rubie’s and its clients must take public responsibility for the company’s actions.

2. They must respect the signed collective bargaining agreement with the workers’ democratically-chosen union, the FTVO.

3. A support fund must be established for the families of the under-age workers to enable them to complete their education.

4. They must pay the lost wages of the workers for the time they have been locked out.

5. They must commit to an independent monitoring mechanism (for example, the Worker Rights Consortium or an independent Mexican organisation) to ensure that Rubie’s factories in Mexico comply with Mexican law.

6. Rubie’s must guarantee neutrality in any union organising effort at its factories or those of its subcontractors.

To sign on to the campaign and for more information visit

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