Samsung will fix working conditions, keep production in-house

Samsung will fix working conditions, keep production in-house

Summary: Electronics giant Samsung says it will keep manufacture in-house, but improve the conditions of its Chinese workers.

samsung supply chain suppliers working conditions china

Samsung Electronics will keep the majority of its production in-house, but intends to improve working conditions for the firm's Chinese workers.

Following an investigation in to working conditions for workers based in China, the China Labor Watch (CLW) said that employees working for a Samsung supplier sometimes had to work up to 16 hours a day, and were often only given one day off a month.

An internal audit of Samsung's 105 suppliers in China, covering over 65,000 employees, followed CLW's comments and found instances of "inadequate practices" at some facilities. Analyzing 6 Samsung-managed plants and 2 partner suppliers, the audit found 16 instances of staff mistreatment and claimed that underage worker abuse was taking place.

Overtime was found to be in excess of local legislation, some suppliers held back contracts from workers, and employees were fined for being late or absent.

A Samsung senior executive has taken the reports seriously, and the electronics giant will be tightening up its labor practices -- but will keep manufacturing in the country, Reuters reports. Samsung currently manufactures roughly 40 percent of its goods in the Asian country, which include computer chips, home appliances, and smartphones like the Galaxy S model. However, most of the production takes place in its own facilities, with less than 10 percent of manufacture being outsourced.

Mok, vice president of human resources, told the news agency that outsourcing is used to adapt to changing market conditions, and that Samsung's core strength relies on the fact the company manufactures so much in-house. Mok stated:

"Multinationals are increasingly opting for outsourcing for various reasons. But at Samsung, out of over 200,000 staff worldwide, more than half are manufacturing jobs, which indicates we are very much a manufacturing-driven company and it is where our core strength is. Samsung manufactures more than 90 percent of our products internally and only relies on contractors for peripheral products such as components, feature phones and handset cases."

The human resources VP also said that Samsung will work with the CLW to "introduce a better work environment" for employees working for the company's suppliers.

144 more supply chain partners in China are currently being reviewed, and the audit will be completed by the end of 2012.

Topics: Samsung, China, Tech Industry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I'm still wondering

    Where is all the outrage? Where are those people who were screaming about human rights, child abuse, and slavery when Apple came out with the results of their independent 3rd party audit that uncovered about a 10th of these issues at one of their subcontracter's plants? And yet this issue with Samsung was not uncovered by a Samsung-funded audit but by a government investigation. And at first Samsung denied any sort of issues and then claimed that is was the subcontractor's issue.

    Why is Samsung getting a pass from you people? Is this not the same exact thing you vilified Apple for? Why is this any different? Oh wait I know why - because this NOT Apple and that makes this okay... cue the double standards!
  • Proof to back up what I said above

    Let's see if this passes the spam filters this time...
  • Maybe

    it's the overload effect where it becomes an also-ran story. Maybe it's because foxconn were using child labour whereas samsung were just keeping legal aged workers longer than they should while still paying them. I do agree there should be similar sized rocks thrown at samsung but perhaps forced overtime is less dramatic than using free child labour?
    Little Old Man
    • I agree with that

      However Samsung - or their subcontracted factory - used child labor as well. Honestly both are deplorable practices ad need to be discouraged.