McDONALD'S TOYS :
DO THEY MANUFACTURE FUN OR MORE
Follow up Report on Pleasure Tech, 31 August 2000
By Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee
The story on Pleasure Tech Holdings and the report of CIC were released
on 27 Aug 2000. McDonald’s responded by taking an inspection team to the
plants of Pleasure Tech Holdings at Shajing, Shenzhen. The HKCIC is very
much concerned with whether the workers of the five plants (City Toys,
Jin De, Wei De, Gao De and Tian De) would be fairly treated or penalized.
On 31 August 2000, the HKCIC re-visited the plants. The findings are as
Inspection and Firing of large numbers of workers
Starting from 28 Aug, the Labor Bureau as well as the client of Pleasure
Tech (probably including the auditing firms for McDonald’s although the
workers could not identify which is which) have been inspecting the factories.
Workers’ ID were checked. This was to check whether the ID matched the
Firing of workers
We do not have the actual number of workers fired nor
did any of the workers we had talked to know about it. Starting from 28
August, it is estimated that hundreds of workers have been dismissed from
the 5 plants. When we visited the 5 plants on 31 August, we were told that
the lay-off was still going on. The five plants are estimated to have a
total of 2-3000 workers.
We find that there are three categories of dismissals
Those found to be, or suspected of under-aged ie. under
18 were all fired. Others who used fake identification, or suspected of
using falsified ID were also fired, no matter what age. There are cases
of workers being victimized. A worker aged 19 from Quei Zhou complained
that she was fired because she was small in size and she could not convinced
the inspectors of her real age. Others whose ID pictures did not look like
the real person were also fired.
Workers from Gao De factory, complained that workers
under 18 as well as workers above 25 were fired. The workers there could
not figure why.
When asked whether there was any official explanation
from the management about the dismissals, none of the workers knew of any.
From talking to dismissed workers, we find instances
of un-explained and arbitrary lay-off. This is in breach of article 29,
section three of the Chinese Labor Law which states clear under what circumstances
workers could not be dismissed.
None of the plant workers we talked to had signed contracts
with the employer in the first place.
When we asked workers whether they knew of their rights,
as well as the regulations on the dismissal of workers as stated in the
Chinese Labor, none of them knew any.
According to article 16, section three of the Chinese
Labor Law, both the employing and employed side should sign contracts upon
Based on article 2, section one of the Chinese Labor
Law, as long as a working/labor relationship is forged "in real and practical
terms" between the employer and employee, the employee is subjected to
the protection of the Chinese Labor Law - with or without an official contract
Whereas article 98 of the Chinese Labor Law states
in case of illegal dismissal and failure to sign a working contract on
the employer’s side, the employee should get due compensation.
Article 28, section three of the Chinese Labor Law
states that workers dismissed should receive due compensation.
The dismissed workers told us they were given their
August salary which varied from five to seven hundred RMB upon dismissal.
Article 5 of Paper 481 named, "Compensation for contravening
and terminating labor contract" issued by the Chinese Labor Bureau in 1994,
states the calculation of compensation money for dismissed workers. A one-off
compensation that equals to a month’s salary should be given for one or
less than one year’s employment. Two months’ salary should be given for
two year’s employment etc.
None of the workers we talked to knew of the delivery
of any compensation money for their dismissals, nor did they know that
they were entitled to one.
We asked the dismissed workers whether their August salary was fully
paid by the management upon dismissal. A dismissed worker from Yunnan province
working in the assembly section of We De factory recalled that she took
only one day off in August; whereas for the rest of the month, she worked
from 7am to 10 or 11pm. But she did not have the pay roll as it was taken
back by the management when her work wage was delivered.
To add to that, workers told us falsification on the management side
regarding the number of working hours was common. In no way could workers
get a true and honest record of their working hours as workers were not
allowed to punch the clock machine whenever they had to labor till very
late at night. We were told by some of the dismissed workers that the management
would present only the "nice" clock machine records for outside inspection.
This is in breach of article 3 of Paper No. 481 on
"Compensation for contravening and terminating working contracts" issued
by the Labor Bureau in 1994. The article states that in case the employer
deducts, delays or refuses to pay wages or over time work compensation
to the employee, the employee is entitled to a compensation of 25% of his/her
Lay off arrangements
Starting from 28 August, workers were dismissed with
no prior notification. They were told to pack and leave within three days.
Sudden dismissals like this caused huge difficulties to them. We were not
sure whether these dismissed workers were given travel money, but many
of them told us they had to travel at their own expense back to their home
town. Those who wanted to stay had to pay 200 something RMB for a shelter
nearby while looking for another job. With the August salary of 5 to 7
hundred RMB, many of them expressed concern over their financial difficulties
in the days ahead.
This, together with the fact that most of the workers
in the five plants did not have a temporary residence card, make it difficult
for dismissed workers to stay in Shenzhen to look for another job. For
according to the Chinese law migrant workers who do not have a temporary
residence card or employment proof while moving outside their home towns
are illegal residents. They could be fined if caught by the police.
We also learned about some dismissed workers who had
not yet received their August salary and they expressed their worry of
delay payment, especially as many of them had to leave their dormitories
within three days after the dismissal.
This Chinese saying describes best what we find
with the inspection and monitoring system regarding Pleasure Tech Holdings.
"Whatever is imposed from the above, there is always
a way of going round it." - Dys-functioning of corporate internal monitoring.
According to the Corporation, McDonald’s has a
set of internal labor code as well as monitoring system. This is done by
contracting third-party social auditors which take both announced and un-announced
inspection to all of its contracting manufacturers. The latest inspection
on City Toys was done last October and according to the Corporation, the
inspection found no evidence of under-aged workers or mal-practices. Workers
themselves are the best proof of how these "internal codes" and "independent
monitoring" are just a sham.
A batch of six dismissed workers from Quei Zhou told
us how the management "taught" them what answers they should give to the
inspection team and the Labor Bureau. "For these few days the management
asked us to tell whoever came for inspection that we did not have over
time work in this factory. And we worked eight hours at 24RMB a day. If
they asked us whether we should pay for medicine, we should answer negative.
If they asked us what facilities and entertainment we had, we should tell
them we had a library and there was video show from time to time. Of course
there is none! The medicine fee is deducted from our salary and the library
is open only to senior staff."
We were told that such "teachings" and warnings would
be given prior to any visit or inspection taken by their clients or the
Labor Bureau. "Beware of what you say. If you say anything damaging to
the factory, you’ll be fired for sure!" A dismissed worker recalled of
how the management had warned her before.
A dismissed worker from Gao De factory said for the
past few days, she saw under-aged workers being locked up by the management
to escape from the inspection.
Words from some of the dismissed workers
"I don’t have a day off in May but I had to work over
time every day. All I got was just five hundred something. Not only May,
but the over time work for June and July was under-paid also. When did
they ever give us our pay rolls? I have no idea how they calculate my over
time working hours and over time compensation. To hell with their calculation!"
"We got 5 hundred, 6 hundred or 7 hundred something
each month. But we have to pay everything on our own. See 60RMB for lodgings,
and 2 per meal. And what about other expenses on daily necessities? A bit
here and a bit there, I got only 200 or at most 300 for my own expenditure.
How can I save any money?"
"This factory recruit like mad when they need you in
high season. They just dump you when you are useless in low season!"
"I don’t want to stay in this factory anymore. Anywhere
is better than this factory."
In an earlier statement issued by the HKCIC on 28 August 2000, we
expressed our grave concern over the possibility of workers of Pleasure
Tech Holdings at Shajing, being penalized after the report on the working
conditions at the work place was released on 27 August.
Demands from HKCIC
We are sad to find in our latest visit to the plants that our concerns
are valid and that workers suffer because of mistakes committed by the
manufacturer and McDonald’s Corporation. As workers were not asked to sign
any labor contract with the manufacturer, it is regretful that their ignorance
of their own rights as enshrined in the Chinese Labor Law is further exploited.
They could not get what they deserve during their employment; nor could
they when they were dismissed. We express our deep concern that workers
any penalty inflicted by the Corporation on the contracting manufacturer
would be further transferred to the workers in the days ahead.
The HKCIC strongly urges McDonald’s Corporation and Pleasure Tech
The HKCIC reiterates its demands on McDonald’s
Deliver due compensation, including travel allowance, to all the
dismissed workers; for those who had left, such money should be remitted
to their families; Over time pay rate should be given back to all the workers;
Commit to non-retaliation to workers in the five plants under whatever
Apologize for mistreating workers of Pleasure Tech Holdings, violating
their labor rights and hurting their dignity;
Commit to strict implementation of the Chinese Labor Law. All workers
manufacturing for McDonald’s should be able to sign contracts with the
employing side on a free and equal basis. Dishonesty and falsification
in the calculation of working hours and work wages should not be tolerated;
Improve the living and working conditions of the workers;
Comply to the core International Labor Standards as stated in the International
Comply to the labor laws of the countries where they have businesses and
Discipline, as well as give positive incentives both financial and logistic,
to all of its contracting manufacturers to help them comply to the above
stands and laws.
Establish an independent monitoring system which is open to workers’ and
labor NGOs’ participation.
3 September 2000 Contact person: Monina WONG
or Alice KWAN
Tel: 852-2366 5860
Fax: 852-2724 5098