Samsung Sends Inspectors To Look Into Child Labour Claims
After a campaign group points fingers at a supplier factory, Samsung sends in its own inspectors
Samsung is dispatching a team of inspectors to China to investigate claims that one of its suppliers, HEG Electronics, has been hiring underage workers.
The accusations came as a result of a report by US campaign group China Labor Watch (CLW), which claimed it found children under 16 working at the HEG factory.
Worse than Foxconn
In the 31-page report, CLW said it carried out three investigations between the months of June and July 2012. During this time, the investigators found seven children working in the same department, one of them just 14 years old.
Although CLW didn’t get access to all of the facilities, the ease with which they found proof of child labour suggested it was common practice throughout the factory. The non-profit organisation estimated that the overall number of children employed by HEG might be between 50 and 100. This clearly violates Chinese labour laws.
According to CLW, the children are working under same harsh conditions as adult workers, but are paid only 70 percent of the wages. There is discrimination based on sex, age and individuality during the hiring process, and working weeks involve 11 hours per day, six days a week.
“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,” read the report. Samsung subcontractors have their employees working 66 hours a week compared to Foxconn’s 60, and pay just half the wages.
Most of the factory output is meant for Samsung, but HEG also does some processing work for Motorola and LG.
Samsung said it conducts its own inspections, and found no child workers when visiting the factory earlier this year. However, in its report, CLW said the factories prepare for monitor visits in advance, and the Chinese monitors themselves are often found taking bribes from factories to look the other way on illegal practices.
Now, the South Korean electronics giant wants its own experts to examine the factory. “A team of inspectors consisting of Samsung personnel from Korea headquarters will be dispatched to Huizhou, China on 9 August, and it will immediately launch an investigation and take appropriate measures to correct any problems that may surface,” the company said in a statement.
“Foxconn may be notorious for its poor working conditions, but at least they didn’t hire children,” CLW founder Li Qiang told Hankyoreh. “Companies like Samsung need to root [these practices] out through rigorous investigations of their subcontractors.”
The campaign group has suggested that the relevant brand companies should compensate child workers and help them to get back into education.
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