Apple may not be the only tech company being criticized for labor abuse. It turns out that its main rival, Samsung, is also being probed for labor abuses on its factories in China. According to an undercover report from activist group China Labor Watch, Samsung supplier HEG Electronics in mainland China is reportedly hiring children under the age of 16 on its factory. At least seven children had been identified so far by the group, although it said that the precise number of child laborers throughout the factory is still unknown.
The group also indicated in their research that student laborers in the factory amount to 80% of the total workforce and that the estimated number of child laborers in other departments could rise up to 50 or 100. “These children were working under same harsh conditions as adult workers, but were paid only 70% of the wages when compared with the formal employees. Moreover, these child workers were often required to carry-out dangerous tasks that resulted in injury,” the report said.
Samsung has already issued an official statement this morning saying that it will be investigating the factory at the soonest possible time. Samsung also said that HEG’s factories have previously passed on-site inspections. China Labor Watch noted that Intertek, an auditor of Samsung, created reports that “are not trustworthy” and that some of Intertek’s auditors have accepted bribery in exchange for letting the factory pass the audits despite not meeting requirements. You can read the rest of the report here.
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. Samsung Electronics is a company held to the highest standards of working conditions and we try to maintain that at our facilities and the facilities of partner companies around the world.