Samsung accused of worker abuse at eight more factories

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Samsung accused of worker abuse at eight more factories
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Samsung accused of worker abuse at eight more factories

China Labor Watch this week accused Samsung (005930) of additional labor infractions at eight more factories in China. The activist group previously accused the South Korean manufacturer of employing children as young as 14 and abusing workers. In response to the allegations, Samsung re-inspected the factory in question and identified “inadequate management and potentially unsafe practices” at the plant. The electronics giant told the supplier in question to immediately improve its working conditions or risk losing the company’s business. After conducting investigations from May to August 2012, China Labor Watch concluded that eight “of Samsung’s directly-operated and supplier factories throughout China” were severely abusing its employees.

Some of the findings included “well over 100 hours of forced overtime work per month, unpaid work, standing for 11 to 12 hours while working, underage workers, severe age and gender discrimination, abuse of student and labor dispatch workers, a lack of worker safety, and verbal and physical abuse,” the group said in its press release, adding that workers also lack an effective internal grievance channel.

Samsung previously said that it will perform on-site inspections of all of its 105 supplier facilities in China by the end of September. CLW’s press release follows below.

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(New York) Today, China Labor Watch (CLW) released an investigative report on 8 of Samsung’s directly-operated and supplier factories throughout China, including factories in Tianjin, Weihai, Huizhou, Suzhou, and Shenzhen. These factories, together employing over 20,000 workers, manufacture cell phones, DVD players, mobile displays, air conditioners, and other electronics and related parts for Samsung.

Conducting investigations from May to August 2012, CLW has uncovered a long list of severe labor abuses in these 8 factories, including but not limited to well over 100 hours of forced overtime work per month, unpaid work, standing for 11 to 12 hours while working, underage workers, severe age and gender discrimination, abuse of student and labor dispatch workers, a lack of worker safety, and verbal and physical abuse. Moreover, workers lack of any effective internal grievance channel by which to rectify these transgressions.

In August 2012, CLW published a report on child labor and other abuses in a Samsung supplier factory called HEG. Our current investigation reveals that labor violations are not simply limited to the HEG factory. Rather, these problems are rampant throughout the entire Samsung manufacturing and supply network in China.

One of the worst violators is a supplier factory called Tianjin Intops Co., Ltd, which employs about 1200 workers, almost all of whom are female dispatch workers. Here, workers must work standing for 11 hours per day, assembling one cell phone casing every 5 seconds. During peak seasons, they must work up to 150 hours of overtime per month, where the legal limit is 36 hours. And these workers are dependent on overtime for a living wage because their monthly base salaries are one half of their overtime wages. On the factory floor, for no apparent reason, workers are not allowed to wear shoes. Foremen are verbally abusive, and when these young women leave the factory, security guards will often berate them. Intops provides absolutely no safety training for workers, and those responsible for printing are not even provided masks to protect them from fumes.

This sort of illegal and inhumane treatment is rampant among Samsung’s factories and supply chain. We demand that Samsung immediately begin the process of rectifying these abuses. With profits of over $12 billion in 2011, we are confident that Samsung has the wherewithal to systematically improve labor conditions for its network of factories and supplier factories in China.

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