Wed, Nov 28, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Samsung under fire again over labor breaches in China

Reuters, SEOUL

Samsung came under renewed criticism from a rights group yesterday for illegal work practices at its Chinese suppliers, a day after the South Korean electronics giant admitted excessive overtime and fines for employees in China.

New York-based China Labor Watch (CLW) said employees at one of Samsung’s suppliers sometimes worked up to 16 hours a day, with only one day’s rest a month. Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s largest maker of cell phones and televisions, said on Monday a review of 105 of its Chinese suppliers — involving more than 65,000 employees — found illegal work practices, but said the companies involved would be given two more years to change their ways.

The audit followed allegations by CLW in August that seven children younger than 16 were working in one of Samsung’s suppliers in China.

Samsung said the audit had found no evidence of child labor.

China Labor Watch said yesterday a follow-up investigation found that workers usually work from three to six times the legal overtime limit.

“The worst situation is in a Samsung supplier factory called Chitwing Mould Industry (Dongguan) Co (捷榮模具), where workers’ overtime hours surpass 220 hours per month. Workers here can work up to 15 or 16 hours per day with perhaps one day of rest per month,” CLW said in a statement.

“Samsung uses an audit system to monitor factories, but audits are renowned for their lack of reliability. Instead of audits, Samsung should establish direct channels of communication with its workers, such as worker committees or a worker hotline,” it said.

Samsung said yesterday hotlines were being set up for workers at supplier firms to report anonymously any inhumane treatment or violations of labor laws.

Samsung is reviewing 144 more suppliers in China and said the review would be completed by the end of this year.

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