September 3, 2012
Samsung Says Factory Doesn’t Have Underage Employees
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Samsung is trying to restore is reputation, but not from losing its court case to Apple, but to establish that its factories do not utilize child labor.China Labor Watch alleged in a report earlier this summer that it found seven children under the age of 16 working in one department of Samsung's supplier HEG. However, after performing its own review, Samsung says that all the student interns at the plant were over the proper age.
The watchdog said at the time that if it found that many children working in one section, then it suspected there could be hundreds of kids working at the factory in total.
Samsung rushed to protect its reputation after the allegations, and made its own audit of the HEG factory. After the evaluation, it claims it couldn't find any evidence of illegal underage workers, but did say there was a high turnover rate at the plant in Huizhou, south east China.
"If HEG fails to meet Samsung´s zero tolerance policy on child labor, the contract will be immediately severed," the company said on its website.
HEG fired back at the China Labor Watch report in August by saying the company has never employed any underage workers. However, Samsung said that underage working isn't' the only concern at the factory.
The South Korean company said its investigation uncovered "inadequate management and potentially unsafe practices" at HEG. It claims employees were fined if they were late or sick. Also, it found that the factory's workers were doing illegal amounts of overtime.
"Samsung has demanded that HEG immediately improve its working conditions," the company said. "We have formally notified the company that it must comply with all applicable labor laws and Samsung´s labor and employment right policies."
"We are taking additional steps to reevaluate our working hour practices, such as instances of overtime when new lines are built or new products begin the manufacturing process," the company said.
Samsung will be carrying out onsite inspections on all of its 105 suppliers that work solely for the company by the end of September.