Samsung Probes Allegations of Child Labor in China

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Samsung, the largest manufacturer of smartphone worldwide released an official statement indicating that it is investigating the allegations of child labor by a supplier in China.

Samsung to take appropriate actions

“We are urgently looking into the latest allegations and will take appropriate measures in accordance with our policies to prevent any cases of child labor in our suppliers. We are moving as fast as possible to address the labor-related issues that have been identified from our own and third-party audits,” according to Samsung in an e-mailed statement.

China Labor Watch found 15 sets labor violations

China Labor Watch, U.S. based labor protection group reported that Dongguan Shinyang Electronic Co Ltd, a supplier of supplier of mobile phone covers and parts committed gross violations of the ethics code of Samsung. The labor protection group alleged that the supplier is using child labor for its assembly lines.

According to China Labor Watch, the production orders of the South Korean electronics manufacturer are seasonal. Its suppliers like Shinyang do not follow strict hiring practices to meet the production demand of Samsung.

“During the busy season and in urgent need of labor, Shinyang hires child labor and underage student workers. These minors will usually only work for a period of three to six months, toiling for 11 hours every day without overtime pay, and the factory does not purchase social insurance for them as required by law,” according to Child Labor Watch.

China Labor Watch said its investigation found that Shingyang committed at least 15 sets of labor violations in addition to child labor, unpaid overtime wages, excessive overtime, and lack of social insurance, discriminatory hiring and other issues.

Samsung found no cases of child labor in previous audits

Samsung emphasized that a “thorough audit” of Shinyang was conducted on March last year. It was followed by a third-party inspection in August, and the latest was last month. According to the company, its audits” found no cases of child labor,” but China Labor Watch found at least five child workers at Shinyang without contracts.

The South Korean electronics manufacturer has a zero-tolerance policy on child labor. It demands strict hiring process from its suppliers including face-to-face interviews and use of electronic scanners to detect fake IDs.

China Labor Watch Director Li Qianng commented, “Samsung’s social responsibility reports are just advertisement. Samsung has put its energy into audits and the production of these reports, but these things are meant to appease investors and don’t have any real value for workers.” He added, “Samsung’s monitoring system is ineffective and has failed to bring about improvements for workers. What Samsung says is not important; what’s important is their actions.”

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