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Samsung Assembler Accused of Using Underage Workers

By - Source: Bloomberg | B 36 comments

An assembler of Samsung products is accused of violating Chinese labor laws, using underage children.

Bloomberg reports that a Chinese company which assembles phones and DVD players for Samsung is being accused of hiring children younger than 16 at its production facilities. These children were reportedly forced to work excessive hours in dangerous conditions and paid less than their adult counterparts, a clear violation of Chinese labor laws.

China Labor Watch issued its report on Monday (pdf), stating that its own undercover investigators identified seven children under the age of 16 working at HEG Electronics (Huizhou) Co., Ltd in China. All seven adolescents worked in the same departments as the undercover agents, leading to speculation that even more underage workers were employed throughout the factory.

"Our investigators suspected that there were a large number of child laborers in other departments of the factory, estimating that there may be 50 to100 children working there," the report states. "These children were working under same harsh conditions as adult workers, but were paid only 70-percent of the wages when compared with the formal employees. Moreover, these child workers were often required to carry-out dangerous tasks that resulted in injury."

The report goes on to state that customers like Samsung are required audit a company to make sure they do not violate any local laws. Intertek was reportedly hired on to audit HEG Electronics for Samsung. However Intertek is also major client of the Chinese assembler, and reports generated by this 3rd-party auditor are supposedly not trustworthy. China Labor Watch even claims that Intertek's auditors have actually accepted bribery from factories in exchange for letting the firm pass audits despite not meeting requirements.

Naturally the report doesn't disclose the actual names of the children, but some of their information has been disclosed for "authenticity purposes." Brand companies like Samsung can verify employment via their hiring certificate, and the report itself even provides pictures of the children in the employment training session. Technical and secondary vocational schools can also verify their employment.

"Among the child workers listed, we interviewed Wu Xiaofang (alias) in particular," the report states. "She is 14 years old. She told us about her problems at HEG recently. During March and April 2012, she accidentally fell on the stairs on her way from the dormitory to the factory floor, unable to work afterward. However, the company not only refused to take her to the hospital for treatment but also rejected her request for sick leave. It also deducted 6 days from her wages on the pretext of her sick leave."

The report claims that there are currently;y around 2,000 workers employed by HEG. During the summer and winter vacation periods, student workers may constitute more than 80-percent of the factory workforce. Most of these students are under 18 and do not receive special protection from the factory. The Hunan Yuandong Vocational and Technical School even claims that more than 10 underage workers were sent to the factory on April 27, 2012.

Despite the detailed report, Samsung claims that its own previous investigations produced no evidence of child labor violations. "Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG’s working conditions this year but found no irregularities on those occasions," Nam Ki Yung, a spokesman for Samsung, told Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement. "Given the report, we will conduct another field survey at the earliest possible time to ensure our previous inspections have been based on full information and to take appropriate measures to correct any problems that may surface."

To read the full report, check out the PDF here.

 

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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    neon871 , August 8, 2012 12:59 PM
    That's the true reason Apple is sewing Samsung, because Apple use Child labor first.
  • 11 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 8, 2012 11:01 AM
    Welcome to the club, Samsung.
  • 10 Hide
    jojesa , August 8, 2012 12:57 PM
    Apple will sued Samsung for copying their assembling line manufacturing strategy.
Other Comments
    Display all 36 comments.
  • 9 Hide
    one-shot , August 8, 2012 10:42 AM
    This was assumed all along!
  • 8 Hide
    EDVINASM , August 8, 2012 10:57 AM
    one-shotThis was assumed all along!


    Correct. Also there was already a number of prolonged debates regarding average Chinese family income and the importance of children at work. I would have gaven all my summers off school (age 14+) to work for that 70% of others pay, especially when I could mention Samsung on my CV after finishing the school. Even at the time - when Samsung wasn't "that big".
  • 11 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 8, 2012 11:01 AM
    Welcome to the club, Samsung.
  • 3 Hide
    memadmax , August 8, 2012 11:01 AM
    Well, at least he was putting them to work, and not... uh, something more disgusting...
    I dunno, I was working lots of manual labor type jobs/work(undercounter of course =D) before I was 16 and it definitely kept me out of trouble, and it allowed me to buy my first computer when I was 13ish or so(C64, used.), then I was able to buy my first car when I was 15(used, blown motor, but I loved that car when I got her running), this put me so far ahead of the pack during highschool... was pickin' up girls left and right =D
  • -1 Hide
    di general , August 8, 2012 11:17 AM
    memadmaxWell, at least he was putting them to work, and not... uh, something more disgusting...I dunno, I was working lots of manual labor type jobs/work(undercounter of course =D) before I was 16 and it definitely kept me out of trouble, and it allowed me to buy my first computer when I was 13ish or so(C64, used.), then I was able to buy my first car when I was 15(used, blown motor, but I loved that car when I got her running), this put me so far ahead of the pack during highschool... was pickin' up girls left and right =D


    Yea, I don't quite get all these child labour laws, especially in the Western world. I started working when I was 6, most students here have jobs packing groceries, my dad started working when he was 5, bought a house at 18 (paid cash too). If a kid wants to work, let them, don't make it illegal, put the proper laws in place to protect them in the workplace; that's half the problem and leads to all this backwards crap.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 8, 2012 11:49 AM
    I really don't get child laws.
  • -2 Hide
    classzero , August 8, 2012 12:25 PM
    di general... If a kid wants to work, let them, don't make it illegal, put the proper laws in place to protect them in the workplace. ...


    Now if this was Apple, there would be nothing but hate, talk about how evil working children was, and boycotts. Hmmmm, I sense a bias here.

  • -9 Hide
    Anonymous , August 8, 2012 12:40 PM
    classzeroNow if this was Apple, there would be nothing but hate, talk about how evil working children was, and boycotts. Hmmmm, I sense a bias here.


    EXACTLY! Come on, SCAMsung sheep, DEFEND THIS! The running gag for the last year has been Apple and FoxConn, now your precious SCAMsung gets outed for using child labor (while getting absolutely destroyed in court for STEALING).

    You guys are never going to be allowed to live this one down, LOL!
  • 10 Hide
    jojesa , August 8, 2012 12:57 PM
    Apple will sued Samsung for copying their assembling line manufacturing strategy.
  • 6 Hide
    Friis , August 8, 2012 12:58 PM
    samsung: "but these products are going to be used in apple products"

    apple gonna sue samsung for copying their business strategy.

    :) 
  • 12 Hide
    neon871 , August 8, 2012 12:59 PM
    That's the true reason Apple is sewing Samsung, because Apple use Child labor first.
  • 4 Hide
    digiex , August 8, 2012 1:19 PM
    It's China for Christ sake, anything is possible.
  • 0 Hide
    nebun , August 8, 2012 1:21 PM
    what's new?
  • 8 Hide
    aracheb , August 8, 2012 1:41 PM
    SCAMsung0000EXACTLY! Come on, SCAMsung sheep, DEFEND THIS! The running gag for the last year has been Apple and FoxConn, now your precious SCAMsung gets outed for using child labor (while getting absolutely destroyed in court for STEALING).You guys are never going to be allowed to live this one down, LOL!

    dude, you are just pathetic!!!!
    stop creating 2000 username to propagate your worthless propaganda.....

    just deal with it like the rest of the world or just Suck it up or stick it in your butt and shut the fu.. off
  • 2 Hide
    xerroz , August 8, 2012 2:03 PM
    Samsung will get sued by Apple for "copying" their child labor
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 8, 2012 2:39 PM
    aracheb
    I'm mad


    We know, bro, we know!
  • 0 Hide
    fayzaan , August 8, 2012 2:46 PM
    I think those kids are working to help themselves or their families. I don't think they're just being abducted and forced to work. Although its sad to hear that they don't get treated well or get sick days etc. but keep in mind its still a 3rd world country and people need the work to afford a living
  • 0 Hide
    kaisellgren , August 8, 2012 3:15 PM
    one-shotThis was assumed all along!

    I accidentally read "This was samsunged all along!"
  • 0 Hide
    chibiwings , August 8, 2012 3:32 PM
    In some partof Asia anyone under 18 years oldis considered Minor (WTH) that's why they make a fuss about it.
  • 0 Hide
    Kami3k , August 8, 2012 3:45 PM
    Wait that is a law in China?

    Shocked.
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