Report Shows Samsung Labor Violations In China

With its recent $1-billion defeat in a legal battle with Apple over patent infringement issue, Samsung is again taking hits, this time for the poor working conditions in its factories.

China Labor Watch accuses Samsung of exploiting workers at its facilities saying employees were verbally and physically abused, and forcing employees to render more than 100 overtime hours every month.

The New York-based organization claims that inspection of at least six Samsung plants and two of its suppliers revealed inadequate worker protection. The said investigation showed that Samsung does not provide protective clothing to its workers. Plant employees were also barred from sitting during shifts and physical and verbal abuse is common.

Samsung is the world’s largest manufacturer of consumer electronics including mobile phone casings, mobile phones, TV sets, printers, DVD players, etc. The company employs a total of 24,000 workers.

China Labor Watch drafted a report showing the abuses after its agents infiltrated eight Samsung plants discreetly.  The organization also interviewed workers away from factories.

Samsung admitted that such poor working condition “may have arisen” because of production demands but assured Associated Press that an immediate review will be initiated immediately.

Samsung spokesman James Chung said: “We frequently review our manufacturing facilities regarding overtime work. We will re-evaluate working hour practices. When new production lines are completed or new products are launched, high demand has led to overtime work.”

The South Korean company however, denied the allegation that it’s hiring underage workers. It says the company maintains “zero tolerance” for such practice. China Labor Watch alleged that one of Samsung’s suppliers, HEG Electronics,  employs child workers. Samsung said it will review all working conditions in its supply chain of over 250 companies in the country, and will not hesitate to end contracts with any offending party if labor violations will be found. Samsung denies that HEG Electronics is using child workers.

The report by China Labor Watch was submitted just days after Apple won the billion dollar legal wrangling with Samsung.

Apple was also accused of some labor violations a year before in some of its supply chains in China. The American company responded swiftly and Tim Cook had to visit the factories of its Chinese suppliers. Afterwards, Apple joined the Fair Labor Organization, an organization monitoring working conditions of factories used by American companies  in Asia, especially in China. Apple was hit hard last year when its largest supplier Foxconn Technology Group, was investigated for labor violations. Foxconn, since then, raised the wages of its workers and permitted anonymous audits.

Samsung is currently facing a similar situation. Let’s see how it responds.

The full report by the China Labor Watch can be found here.

Source: guardian

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