Samsung accused of exploiting Chinese child workers

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samsung-child-labour.jpgWatchdog agency China Labor Watch has accused a HEG Electronics-owned factory that assembles products for Samsung Electronics of hiring underage workers, and violating Chinese labor laws.

The investigation confirmed at least seven underage workers were employed by the plant, with many more expected to be working there uncovered too. Young “student labourers” are hired during the summer and winter vacations, making up an estimated 60% of the workforce, on a fraction of the adult wage.

It sounds like a fairly brutal work environment too. China Labor Watch reports that “any carelessness, such as slow movements, misoperation, or late completion of team leaders’ orders could provoke the shouting of team leaders at anytime. Every day, employees in the workshops were punished by standing all day long, writing self-criticism, or getting fined.” The factory also “essentially offers no medical protection measures” to its workers, with healthcare basics such as first aid kits missing from the factory floor.

Samsung (whose phones, stereo equipment and MP3 players are assembled at the factory) deny the charges. Speaking to ZD Net Asia, they claimed that “Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG’s working conditions this year but found no irregularities on those occasions. 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.”

More on this story as it develops.

Gerald Lynch