August 9, 2012
China Labor Watch Claims Samsung Factory Uses Child Labor
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
A Samsung team will be sent off to a supplier factory in Huizhou, China to see if HEG Electronics is employing underage workers.
Two previous inspections in the factory have not shown any wrongdoing, according to Samsung. The company also added that it wasn't sure this trip would show any wrong doings as well, given the incentive for HEG to cover up any illegal activities.
"Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG's working conditions this year but found no irregularities on those occasions," Samsung said in a statement to BBC News.
"A team of inspectors consisting of Samsung personnel from Korea headquarters will be dispatched to Huizhou, China on August 9, and it will immediately launch an investigation and take appropriate measures to correct any problems that may surface," the company continued.
It said that Samsung is held to the highest standards of working conditions, and "we try to maintain that at our facilities and the facilities of partner companies around the world."
China Labor Watch claims that seven children younger than 16 years old were working in the factory of HEG Electronics, which makes Samsung phones and DVD players.
The report said that the child workers faced the "same harsh conditions" as adults and were paid only 70 percent of the wages of other workers. China Labor Watch said that it conducted the investigations back in June and July of this year.
The same organization previously exposed Foxconn Technology Group factories of making its employees work under sweatshop conditions. Foxconn is the company Apple uses to help produce its iPhones and iPads.
China Labor Watch said that a group member took a job at the factory to conduct the investigation and interview the seven children. The group did not report the cases to public security bureaus or other government agencies.
The report said that student workers amount to 80 percent of the factory workforce. The group also added that its investigators only had limited contact with the factory's other departments, and there could be dozens more underage employees.
After reports about Foxconn factories emerged, Apple began publishing details of its own checks in 2007. In Apple's latest report, it said it found six active and 13 historical cases of underage labor at five of its suppliers. It advised the factories to improve practices and return the children back to school.
Even with the scrutiny seen at the Apple factories, China Labor Watch claim that Samsung's factories are even worse.
"Based on the results of this CLW investigation of Samsung's supplier factory, it can be determined that working conditions at HEG are well below those general conditions in Apple's supplier factories," the group said in a statement.