BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ A parliamentary committee will investigate allegations that workers who make the wildly popular Power Ranger figurines earn less than the $5.20 daily minimum wage.

Prasop Busaracom, acting chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said his panel would consider the issue in the next few weeks, after Thailand's most prominent human rights lawyer urged Thursday that parliament look into the matter.

The Bandai factory here is one of nine worldwide churning out the toys in an attempt to meet a demand so fierce that some stores in the United States have limited the number of Power Rangers a customer can buy.

Employees of the plant told The Associated Press last week that although the factory's base wage is $5.40 a day, many of the 2,000 workers were hired through subcontractors who took 40 cents a day as their fee, bringing the wage below the minimum.

Human rights lawyer Thongbai Thongpao said the subcontractors also were not providing benefits - including health care - mandated by law.

''I cannot tolerate that hundreds of workers are being exploited,'' he said in an interview. ''It is not right.''

Tawatchai Pingsuthiwong, deputy manager of the Japanese-owned Bandai factory, insisted in an interview earlier this month that the subcontractors were responsible for providing benefits to the workers they hire. He said if that was not occurring, the factory would force the subcontractors to do so.

But Tawatchai refused to let The Associated Press ask workers about their salaries and benefits.

Sahai Thothongkam of the Labor and Welfare Department told The Associated Press the subcontractor was responsible but said his agency had no plans to investigate the charges.