Samsung is “urgently” looking into fresh allegations of child labor at a supplier’s China factory

Samsung is “urgently” looking into fresh allegations of child labor at a supplier’s ...

New York-based watchdog China Labor Watch (CLW) has just accused Samsung of employing child labor in its supply chain at a factory called Shinyang Electronics in China. In response, the Korean company tells TNW in a statement: “We are urgently looking into the latest allegations and will take appropriate measures in accordance with our policies to prevent any cases of child labor in our suppliers.”

In a report, CLW said it sent an undercover investigator into the Shinyang factory in June this year, and uncovered five child workers (under 16 years old) by just the third day, with evidence of more in subsequent days. It noted that Shinyang hired child labor and underage student workers during the busy season as it was in urgent need of labor. The minors were said to work 11 hours a day for about three to six months, without getting overtime pay and social insurance.

China Labor Watch-Samsung
China Labor Watch issued this photo in its report which purports to show child workers at a Samsung supplier’s China factory.

CLW also pointed out at least 15 sets of labor violations at Shinyang — including unpaid overtime wages, excessive overtime, the absence of social insurance, a lack of pre-job safety training and protective equipment, overuse of temporary workers and poor living conditions.

Samsung told TNW that it has a strict “zero tolerance policy” on child labor and it routinely conducts inspections to make sure its suppliers follow such a commitment.

“For the supplier in question, we have conducted a thorough audit in March 2013 which was followed by a third party inspection in August 2013, and yet another one in June 2014. No cases of child labor were found during these audits,” Samsung said.

Previous allegations

This isn’t the first time that CLW has brought forward such accusations — the latest allegations come nearly two years after the watchdog claimed to have exposed child exploitation in a Samsung supplier factory. The Korean company had subsequently carried out an audit and announced “corrective measures” of working conditions at its supplier companies, though it said it didn’t find any instances of child labor.

The organization said: “For two years CLW has repeatedly exposed the poor labor conditions in Samsung’s supply chain. Samsung continues to fail to implement its own code of conduct and social commitments, and its suppliers as a result continue not to take these standards seriously.”

Samsung, however, noted that it has demanded its suppliers adopt a new hiring process to boost identity verification starting late 2012, and introduced a facial recognition system in April this year. It also said that it had announced a Child Labor Prohibition Policy in China on June 27.

Image via China Labor Watch, headline image via Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

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