The same with Apple, Samsung was also hit with criticism pertaining to the working conditions of its manufacturing partners’ factories. The South Korean tech giant promised to address those issues.
Samsung and the China Labor Watch
In a press release issued yesterday, Samsung responded to China Labor Watch’s reports that accuse the company’s suppliers for employing underage labor. But during their four-week-long audit, Samsung did not find any instances of child labor.
However, they did find “several instances on inadequate practices at the facilities.” This includes overtime hours that exceeded local regulations, copies of labor contracts being held by the supply chain’s management, as well as requiring fines from employees’ tardiness and absences.
We are now designing, researching, and/or implementing corrective actions to address every violation that was identified. Corrective actions include new hiring policies and work hours and overtime practices, among other steps, to protect health and welfare of employees.
Violations and Remedies
China Labor Watch first called Samsung’s attention in August, claiming that the Chinese manufacturer HEG was employing workers as young as 14 years old. Based on the third-party audit, seven minors, ages 16 years old and below, were found working in a factory making DVD players for Samsung.
The report also accused the company’s manufacturing partner of hiring discrimination, excess overtime, withholding copies of worker contracts, poor cafeteria and dormitory conditions, and lack of safety education and labor protection.
The Korean phone manufacturer responded in September, saying that they would review 250 suppliers from alleged labor violations. It was also during those times that Samsung admitted that an audit of HEG Electronics shows inadequate management. It was also reported that the manufacturing partner also conducts potentially unsafe practices, although there were no instances of child labor.
As a result, Samsung demanded HEG to improve their working environment immediately. In case the partner fails to meet Samsung’s “zero-tolerance policy on child labor, the contract will be immediately severed.”
On the other hand, Apple has conducted its own supplier audits and published an annual report, which details the company’s findings for years. This year, though, the Cupertino-based company brought on the Fair Labor Association to conduct its own third-party audits.
The FLA’s involvement came after the company faced increasing criticism for its reliance on Chinese manufacturing partners. In fact, the media scrutinized Apple’s partnership with Foxconn for the assembly of most of its devices.