Investigations Find That Samsung Is Far From Goal of Model Labor Treatment


(New York) China Labor Watch (CLW) is has released the results of its follow-up investigations into five of Samsung’s directly-owned and supplier factories in China. Conducting investigations in October and November, CLW investigators discovered a persistent list of problems in Samsung factories in Dongguan and Tianjin. Factories are still using blank labor contracts for new workers; still primarily limit hiring to females from 16 to 24; still regularly use dispatch workers, who are particular vulnerable to abuse; and still make workers stand despite a lack of necessity to do so.

Samsung promises to eliminate overtime hours surpassing the legal limit of 36 hours per month, but overtime is perhaps the most persistent and abusive aspect of labor violations in Samsung’s factories. According to CLW’s follow-up investigations, workers usually work from three to six times the legal overtime limit. The worst situation is in a Samsung supplier factory called Chitwing Mould Industry (Dongguan) Co., Ltd, where workers overtime hours surpass 220 hours per month. Workers here can work up to 15 or 16 hours per day with perhaps one day of rest per month.

Samsung promises that it will improve labor conditions at its factories, but the key is if and how they can truly institute and monitor the new policies they have established. Samsung uses an audit system to monitor factories, but audits are renowned for their lack of reliability. Instead of audits, Samsung should establish direct channels of communication with its workers, such as worker committees or a worker hotline.

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