Chinese watchdog alleges worker abuse at Samsung plants

China Labor Watch claims it uncovered "inhumane" treatment of workers, including unpaid work and physical abuse, at factories Samsung and its suppliers operate.

Samsung Electronics has been accused of "inhumane" treatment toward workers in the plants the company and its suppliers operate in China, forcing these employees to work overtime and in unsafe conditions.

In a statement released Tuesday, China Labor Watch said it discovered "severe labor abuses" at six factories owned and operated by the South Korean consumer electronics giant, as well as two facilities operated by its suppliers. The violations included forced overtime work amounting to more than 100 hours a month, unpaid work, and workers being made to stand for 11 to 12 hours, it said.

The employees were also subjected to "verbal and physical abuse", and did not have effective internal grievance channels, the group added. "The treatment of Samsung's Chinese factory workers is far from model," the statement said. "The list of illegal and inhumane violations is long."

The findings follow an August report by China Labor Watch stating Samsung employed seven underaged workers . This prompted the South Korean company to broaden inspections of its suppliers. On Monday, Samsung said it would review more than 250 Chinese companies which manufactured its products to determine if laws were broken.

Samsung maintained it did not find any child laborers after an investigation of the factory owned by its Chinese supplier, HEG Electronics, which processes mobile phones, DVDs and stereo equipment for electronic companies including Motorola and LG, The Korea Times reported on Tuesday.

However, it did identify a lack of medical care and some poor working environments in HEG, which the company has promised to correct. Samsung added it was planning two more large-scale probes in September of 105 companies in China which exclusively supplies to the Korean company, and another 144 companies which have other clients in addition to Samsung by the end of 2012.