Samsung to review Chinese suppliers for labor violations

After being accused of employing child labor in a supplier's factory, Samsung said it will "terminate" any contracts with companies that do not adhere to its strict policies.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Samsung said today it will review more 250 Chinese companies that manufacture its products to determine whether laws were broken, days after a U.S.-based group accused a supplier to the technology giant of using child labor.

In August, New York-based group China Labor Watch accused a Chinese factory of hiring under-age workers in a factory that builds Samsung products. HEG Electronics, who owns the plant, builds a range of technology products for various suppliers, including Motorola and LG.

The report into HEG by the non-government organization claimed the working conditions were "appaling."

Samsung denied the charges, claiming it had "found no irregularities" in an earlier statement to ZDNet in two separate on-site inspections of HEG's working conditions.

"Samsung is in full compliance with its strict zero tolerance policy on child labor," the firm said.


However, today Samsung said it identified several cases of poor management, potentially unsafe practices, improper safety measures, and a system for fines for unauthorized absences, Reuters reports.

The South Korea-based technology company said the audit it carried out showed that no under-aged workers were employed at an HEG Electronics plant in Huizhou, south China, despite claims by China Labor Watch that seven children aged under-16 were working at the factory.

In a statement on its website, the firm said: "Samsung has demanded that HEG immediately improve its working conditions. We have formally notified the company that it must comply with all applicable labor laws and Samsung’s labor and employment right policies."

"If HEG fails to meet Samsung's zero tolerance policy on child labor, the contract will be immediately severed," the statement added.

Samsung added that it will inspect all 105 suppliers in China that produce goods exclusively for Samsung by the end of September, and review documentation of 144 other suppliers that build products for the firm and others by the end of the year.

Samsung said it would "terminate its contract" with any suppliers should those companies be in violation of their polices and if corrective actions are not taken.

Editorial standards