Samsung's China suppliers failing work rules

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.