Samsung is again under-pressure over underage workers employed by its manufacturing partners in China. Barely a month after China Labor Watch uncovered underage workers at Shinyang Electronics, the same organization says that another supplier — HEG Electronics — has employed workers as young as 14 at its factories.
HEG Electronics, which is based in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, and also works with Lenovo, counted more than 10 workers aged under 16 on its roster, according to a CLW report from earlier this summer.
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Samsung has denied the claims. In a statement provided to TNW, the Korean company explained that it was told of the findings by CLW last week, but a subsequent investigation failed to unearth any evidence of underage workers, it claims.
Samsung says it is “regrettable” that CLW did not mention these details in its report, while it also says it has also asked CLW to conduct a joint investigation of SEG’s premises in order to get to the bottom of these allegations.
Here’s Samsung’s comment in full:
China Labor Watch (CLW) alleged on Aug. 28 that it had uncovered child workers and student workers employed at Samsung and another company supplier factory called HEG Electronics in Huizhou, Guangdong Province.
Last week, CLW contacted Samsung Electronics with these fresh allegations, and upon receiving such news, Samsung conducted onsite investigation on the production line in question that included one on one interviews with all employees to check whether there were any child or student workers as alleged.
The investigation found that there were no child workers nor student workers working in the Samsung Electronics production line at HEG.
We immediately notified our findings to CLW and also proposed that Samsung and CLW conduct a joint onsite investigation for more precise verification. Furthermore, we proposed briefing Samsung’s recruitment process that includes ID verification and face to face interviews.
We notified to CLW that an onsite investigation found no child workers nor student workers in the Samsung Electronics production line in question, but despite such notification, we find it regrettable that CLW issued the allegations today without any mention of our statement.
At Samsung Electronics, we deeply care about the health and safety of all our employees and employees at our suppliers and strictly maintain a zero tolerance policy on child labor
This is not the first time that HEG has made headlines for employing minors in China — two years ago, CLW found evidence of child and student laborers there. A subsequent investigation from Samsung identified “inadequate” working practices at the company, but found no evidence of child labor.
Headline image via Chung Sung-Jun / AFP / Getty Images