Watchdog: Samsung's China factory employs child labor

Chinese factory assembling products for Samsung violates local labor laws by hiring underaged workers who are paid 70 percent lesser than formal employees, says watchdog China Labor Watch.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

A Chinese factory which assembles products for Samsung Electronics has been hiring underaged workers, thus violating Chinese labor laws, according to China Labor Watch.

In a statement Tuesday, the watchdog released findings of its investigation of Huizhou-based factory HEG Electronics. During the investigation, China Labor Watch found seven workers who were under the age of 16 and believed that more of such underaged workers are hired in other departments.

HEG Electronics builds products such as mobile phones, DVDs, stereo equipment and MP3 players for Samsung, the report said, adding that Motorola and LG are also customers of the supplier.

The report noted that the employment of student laborers increases during the summer and winter vacations and can reach up to 80 percent of the total workforce in the factory. The usual proportion of underaged workers is 60 percent at regular times.

Child workers work under the same conditions as adults but were paid only 70 percent of the wages, it added.

China Labor Watch said the employment of child laborer could be due to HEG's slack internal supervision by not checking the IDs of the students they employed. Some schools were also supplying student workers to the factory and provided them false IDs, it added.

In a statement to ZDNet Asia, Samsung denied the charges: "Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG's working conditions this year but found no irregularities on those occasions. Given the report, we will conduct another field survey at the earliest possible time to ensure our previous inspections have been based on full information and to take appropriate measures to correct any problems that may surface."

China Labor Watch has published other reports such as investigations of labor rights violations by Apple's suppliers.

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