Samsung's China suppliers failing work rules

Samsung's China suppliers failing work rules

Summary: Korean handset manufacturer's annual sustainability report says 59 of its suppliers in China failed to ensure proper work conditions and provide adequate safety equipment at their plants.


Samsung Electronics has singled out 59 of its suppliers in China for failing to ensure proper work conditions and equipment at their manufacturing plants. 

In its annual sustainability report published on its website this week, the Korean smartphone maker said the majority of its suppliers did not comply with legally permitted work hours in China, according to a Bloomberg report. The company said 40 suppliers failed to hold evacuation drills while 50 demonstrated "inadequate efforts" in rolling out emergency response.  

Samsung said more training was being provided to help suppliers improve their work environment. It said it will implement an inspection checklist to monitor supplier compliance and will expand this practice to other locations, such as Southeast Asia.

 One of the company's Chinese suppliers last year was accused of several labor rights violations including excessive workloads and for owing unpaid overtime wages. It also came under fire the year before when China Labor Watch said eight of Samsung's factories throughout China had violated various labor laws, such as forcing overtime work exceeding 100 hours per month, hiring underage workers, and gender discrimination.

Arch-rival Apple also faced similar problems at its supplier's factories in China, mainly operated by its manufacturing contractor Foxconn, where workers at the Wuhan plant had threatened suicide to protest low wages. The U.S. Fair Labor Association in 2012 found work "significant issues" at three of Foxconn's Chinese factories where it conducted various inspections including excessive overtime, and safety risks.

Samsung and Apple, among others, have been conducting audits on their respective supply chain as part of efforts to improve work conditions.

Topics: Smartphones, Samsung, China, IT Employment


Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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  • Ummm

    Wait! Wasn't it only Apple that had these poor working condition in China?

    Maybe people will now realize it's all the major hardware manufacturers...
    • Poor baby.. someone said something bad about Apple.

      Look, there's a difference between Apple and other makers. Apple promotes itself as being superiour both technically and morally... that being an Apple owner makes you somehow 'better' than other people. As well, for the last few years, Apple's gotten a pretty free ride from the tech press, their products being promoted almost for free. (See, for example, a recent article here on ZDNet where the author, writing about SSDs, managed to slip in an Apple promotion into an article that has literally nothing to do with Apple or anything Apple makes.)

      That means, like it or not, Apple has to be held to a higher standard than the other companies. If I say 'I'm an expert at cryptography' for example, then people expect me to BE an expert as cryptography. If Apple claims a moral high ground - then we expect them to actually BE morally better than the other companies.

      Which means it's entirely fair game to hold Apple more accountable. That being said, THIS article is actually remarkably balanced. It states the facts pretty clearly and it does mention that Apple has had its share of problems as well - essentially noting that it's hard for any manufacturer to have adequate control over the companies they hire to make parts.
    • The difference is that Samsung is calling these manufacturers out

      Samsung is taking leadership to clean up the mess! I've seen at least one of Apple's plants in China. It is truly demoralizing to work there.
  • Ignoring the partisan arguements

    It's good that all the major tech firms are providing these reports and providing transparency on the issue.

    Only a few years ago this would all have been hushed up and heads turned the other way!