[ National Labor Committee ]   

Sharper ImageRazor Scooters, Made in China

                    Made at:
                    * Yuan Da Metal Factory
                      Gong Ming Town
                      Bao-on District
                      Shenzhen, Guangdong, CHINA
                      Taiwanese-owned / 6,000 workers during the high season

Peak Season:              May through September  
                                    (Racing to meet U.S. holiday demands.)

Hours--during peak season

                   * 7:00 - 8:00 a.m.                                   Obligatory exercise
                   * 8:00 - 12 noon                                     Work
                   * Noon - 12:30 p.m.                               Lunch
                   * 12:30 - 5:30 p.m.                                 Work
                   * 5:30 - 6:00 p.m.                                   Supper
                   * 6:00 - 9:00 or 10:00 or 11:00 p.m.       Work

Wages:                      The base wage at Yuan Da is 20 cents an hour, or $8.00 a week.
                                   However, as a review of the attached paystub shows, including forced 
                                   overtime, a worker putting in an 84-hour workweek will make 37 cents 
                                   an hour, or $31.40 for the 84-hour workweek.  This young man worked 
                                  13-hour shifts, 6.5 days a week, from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday 
                                   through Saturday, while putting in six hours on Sunday from 7:00 a.m. 
                                   to 2:30 p.m.

Pay Stub:                   (This is one of the faster assembly workers.)

                   * 20-cent-an-hour base wage
                   * $7.80 for a 40-hour workweek
                   * 44 hours of obligatory overtime;  84-hour workweek
                   * Fully-loaded wage of 37 cents an hour--including all production, 
                     overtime and attendance bonuses
                   * $31.40 for an 84-hour workweek.

Base Wage  

* 20 cents an hour
* $1.60 per day (8-hour day)
* $7.80 per week (40-hour week)
* $33.82 per month
* $405.80 per year


Take-home Wage

(Including overtime, production incentives, bonuses for perfect attendance and punctuality.)

* 37 cents an hour
* $4.81 per day (13-hour shift)
* $31.40 per week (84-hour, 6 ˝ day week)
* $125.60 per month
* $1,507.25 per year


September Payroll of an assembly worker at Yuan Da III


Explanation of Paystub

¨      Workers in China are paid on a monthy basis.

¨      This man worked 29 days in September, getting every other Sunday off.  We worked 6 ˝ days a week.

¨      His base wage was 20 cents an hour, or $7.80 for a 40-hour workweek.  (280 rmb per month x 12 months = 3,360 per year;  3,360 rmb ) 52 weeks = 64.62 rmb per week;  U.S.  $1 = 8.28 rmb;  64.62 rmb ) 8.28 = $7.80 per week;  $7.80 ) 40 hours = 19 ˝ cents/hour.)  

¨      He worked 44 hours of overtime each week, earning an overtime rate of just 18 cents an hour.  For 44 hours of overtime, he earned $7.97.

¨      This worker was fast and received two production incentives for exceeding daily production goals totalling 393 rmb plus 75 rmb for the month, or $14.13 per week.  He also earned $1.51 a week for perfect attendance and punctuality. 

¨      For an 84-hour workweek he earned $31.40, or 37 an hour.

Paid just 14 cents for each $89 Razor Scooter they make  

At the Yuan Da #III Factory, 26 workers on an assembly line had to produce 700 Razor scooters a day.  That was the daily production goal set by the company.  If the workers could not complete the quota in 8 hours, they would have to stay another two hours--without overtime pay--to meet their production goal.

So if we take the high end wage of 37 cents an hour, and assume they had to work a 10-hour shift to complete their quota, then each worker earned $3.70 a day.  For all 26 assembly line workers, their total daily payroll amounts to $96.20.  Yet they produce 700 razor scooters, which retail--on sale--at Sharper Image in the U.S. for $89, meaning they produce $62,300 worth of scooters a day.

This means that the workers wages come to just 2/10ths of one percent of the $89 retail price, or 14 cents.

Factory Conditions

¨      Tremendous heat, like a sauna.

¨      Workers on their feet all day--for 10-12-14-hour shifts.

¨      Arriving one minute late is punished with the loss of four hours’wages.

¨      Working 7 days a week, with every other Sunday off.  Punishment for taking a day off is the loss of 3 or 4 days’ wages.

¨      Workers caught riding the scooters are fined 1 ˝ to 2 ˝ days’ wages.

¨      Dozing at work will result in the loss of up to one week’s wages.

¨      The workers are not provided their legally required work contract.

¨      Workers are afraid to leave the factory-dorm compound.  Although the company charges the migrant workers for their temporary residency permit, they never give the permits to the workers, who are then virtually trapped.  If they are stopped and questioned by the police while outside of the factory compound, they can be fined 2 to 3 weeks’ wages and deported, because they do not have their residency permits with them.

¨      These workers are the ultimate contingency workforce.  When the market demand from the U.S. winds down in October, thousands of workers are laid off, while others are forced into month-long furloughs without pay.  During the low season, wages can drop as low as 14 cents an hour.

¨      There is no right to organize an independent union.

 (A full report with all original documentation will be published in January.)  


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