Follow-up Investigation of Worker Strike at Jingyu Toy Products

On July 13, about 100 workers at the Jingyu Toy Products (Shenzhen) Company went on strike to demand compensation as the company prepared to relocate the plant. Photos and information about the strike were posted on Chinese social media, where some people said that Jingyu workers had been violently suppressed by public security.[1] On July 16, CLW carried out a follow-up investigation to understand more about the strike and Jingyu’s labor conditions. There was no sign of any protest activity during that day. People were applying for jobs at the plant, though the factory was only hiring women. CLW’s investigator interviewed a number of current Jingyu workers, collecting the following findings. 

People applying for a job at Jingyu

There is currently only a day shift at Jingyu, six days per week. The normal daily shift—calculated as normal working hours—is only 6 hours and 40 minutes long rather than 8 hours. In this way, a number of working hours paid at the normal workweek rate are shifted onto Saturdays, thereby allowing the company to avoid paying workers hours of weekend overtime pay each week. The monthly base wage is the same as the Shenzhen minimum wage, 2,030 RMB ($327). Workers said that it is currently a low season, and they typically finish work at 6 pm (which includes 2 hours and 20 minutes of overtime). But sometimes there will be a sudden surge in production orders, at which point workers will do 12-hour shifts. One worker told CLW that the immediate reason for this recent strike was that the factory made workers toil until 2 in the morning, still expecting them to come to work later in the morning for the day shift.

 Jingyu company introduction

According to workers, about 100 people participated in the strike, where there are about 1,000 employees of the factory. An underlying driver of the discontent is that Jingyu is preparing to relocate the factory and workers demanded severance pay and retirement insurance. New workers at Jingyu receive social insurance, but according to interviewees, the monthly individual insurance payment is 160 RMB ($26), which may indicate underpayment of insurance. Some veteran workers are still owed arrears from the company for past unpaid insurance contributions.

Hiring notice explains that only 6.66 hours per dayare paid according to the normal rate.The noticeclaims workers may earn 4,200 RMB ($672) per monthfor 26 days of work.

Jingyu security guards said that workers who had participated in the strike were being restricted to the factory premises. Guards were also particularly cautious about outside people entering the factory grounds.Online information indicates that Jingyu is a supplier of toys to Hasbro, Takara Tomy, and Mattel. On Amazon and another online retailer called Saotianxia, Jingyu is the listed manufacturer of Hasbro Transformers toys that carry the Takara Tomy brand. According to a company profile on a business website, a company profile on Renrenwang (a Chinese social networking site similar to Facebook), and a current online job ad, Jingyu has produced toys for Mattel in addition to Hasbro.  

Images Takara Tomy-branded and Hasbro-distributed Transformer toys produced by
Jingyu from online retail website. The label on the box (below) lists the factory as Jingyu and the importer as Hasbro.

 The following are some strike photos from social media.


[1] See, for example, posts from Weibo and Baidu Tieba:

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