Samsung Accused of Using Child Labor via Supplier, Promises Investigation
August 8, 2012 3:02 PM
Apple isn't the only one
Apple, Inc. (
) has been
by everyone from
The New York Times
for reported Chinese labor abuses. Interest piqued after a
at a primarily Apple manufacturing plant in Shenzhen highlighted poor working conditions among employees.
acknowledge such issues -- such as occasional child labor violations.
But it's hardly alone. Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
), the world's top smartphone maker, is now being forced to answer similar tough questions. A report by the advocacy group
China Labor Watch
its supplier HEG Electronics of using child labor at a plant in Huizhou, China.
Samsung does perform regular audits of its Chinese suppliers, but the audits are subcontracted to local Chinese third-party firms, a practice some say opens the door for lies and corruption.
In the wake of the recent allegations Samsung has promised a new audit of HEG, sending a team of its own South Korean employees over by the end of the week to inspect the plant. Samsung writes:
Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG's working conditions this year but found no irregularities on those occasions.
A team of inspectors consisting of Samsung personnel from Korea headquarters will be dispatched to Huizhou, China on August 9, and it will immediately launch an investigation and take appropriate measures to correct any problems that may surface.
Samsung Electronics is a company held to the highest standards of working conditions and we try to maintain that at our facilities and the facilities of partner companies around the world.
Samsung is accused of using contractors who use child labor to manufacture
its smartphones and tablets. [Image Source: BGR]
While not exactly a surprise visit, this could force HEG to at least avoid the most flagrant of labor abuses (or as Antoine Dodson would say, time to "hide your kids").
In a way Samsung has benefited from secrecy. The company does not publish the results of its internal labor audits, while Apple does. Thus much of the criticism leveled at Apple has been due to that company's willingness to share just how sordid the dark side of Chinese manufacturers are.
In most cases these violations boil down to manufacturers cutting corners, looking to pad their profits by pushing employees to
work conditions considered "inhumane"
by American and European standards.
Those issues aside, it cannot be discounted that the electronics manufacturing industry has been a boon to the Chinese economy, lifting millions of workers out of the respectively back-breaking work in the fields into easier, better-paying factory jobs.
This is evidenced by the fact that even amid outrage from American advocacies regarding labor conditions, their virtually never a shortage of willing workers in China, given the fact that the alternatives too the "rough" factory life are, in reality, often far worse.
China Labor Watch
"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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