The electronics giant's Chinese manufacturing plant is said to employ children in an injury-prone environment
Earlier this year, allegations that workers at Apple's manufacturing partner in China, Foxconn, were being subjected to deplorable working conditions came to light and soon exploded into a major international investigation. Now a report by China Labor Watch indicates that Foxconn is far from alone in its practices. In fact, HEG Electronics, which manufactures products for Samsung, might just be worse.
According to the report, obtained by Laptop Mag, investigators found that HEG employs children under the age of 16 as "student laborers" that account for up to 80% of its workforce. These children are reportedly recruited from high schools to make up a temporary workforce during high-capacity periods such as new product launches.
The kids are said to earn about 70% of what their adult peers do while working in the same potentially dangerous conditions, but the low pay is far from the worst aspect of the job. One 14-year-old girl interviewed by investigators told of how she fell down stairs while walking from the on-site employee housing to her job on the assembly line, only to be denied medical treatment and by her superiors. She was docked pay following the incident and subsequently fired.
Other workers at the HEG factory told investigators that they are commonly hit by management and are forced to endure physical punishments such as standing at their posts for day-long shifts if they're not fast enough at their work. Psychological punishments are also reportedly practiced, such as workers having to write self-criticisms while facing constant threats of termination.
For its part, Samsung said it hasn't found any wrongdoing at the factory on previous visits, but will conduct another investigation of the labor conditions at HEG Electronics as soon as possible.
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