Disney raises pay for some workers after staff complaints

Actors at Disneyland who greet visitors in costume such as Mickey Mouse and Goofy have won an 11 per cent pay rise after complaints about low pay and other work-related issues, the company confirmed on Sunday.

Beginning June 1, the basic salary will rise from 9,000 Hong Kong dollars (1,154 US dollars) a month to nearly 10,000 Hong Kong dollars, for about 120 workers, Hong Kong Disneyland said in a statement.

But that is still below the basic salary of 11,000 Hong Kong dollars paid to performers who participate in musicals and related entertainment.

Staff had threatened to highlight their grievances by displaying placards during the daily parade of Disney characters.

Theme-park officials have also allowed staff to take long breaks because of the hot weather and will reassign pregnant women to air-conditioned locations and give them lighter duties if necessary.

'This adjustment is the result of benchmarking efforts internally (and) with the external Hong Kong market and with other Disney parks,' the company's statement said.

The changes follow longstanding complaints by some Disney staff that they suffered muscle and neck problems, had to endure long working hours and a lack of privacy when changing costumes.

Hong Kong Disneyland, a joint venture between the Hong Kong government and Walk Disney Co, has suffered a raft of problems since it opened on September 12 last year. Those include long queues for rides and a near riot during Chinese New Year in early February when people with valid tickets were locked out of the park because it was full.

Some travel agents have taken Disneyland off their Hong Kong tour itineraries because of complaints of high ticket prices.

The park has also suffered from poor attendance with reports that it was attracted an average of about 10,000 people a day, against a projected attendance in the first year of 5.6 million people.


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