Samsung’s Supplier Factory Exploiting Child Labor


(New York) Today, China Labor Watch released an investigative report on Samsung’s supplier HEG Electronics (Huizhou) Co., Ltd. HEG is an important partner of South Korea’s Samsung, processing such products as mobile phones, DVDs, stereo equipment and MP3s for Samsung. China Labor Watch carried out three investigations during the months of June and July 2012, uncovering issues of child labor and student labor exploitation as well as several other problems. A serious light needs to be shined on these issues.

During the first investigation, seven children—all of them are under the age of 16—were found working in the same department as our investigators. This suggests that child labor is a common practice in the factory. The number of underage workers throughout the factory is unknown because our investigators had limited contact with workers in other departments. But the company has clearly violated Chinese labor laws.

Our research indicates that student workers amount to 80% of the factory workforce. Based on follow-up investigations, our investigators suspected that there were a large number of child workers in other departments of the factory, estimating that there may have been 50 to 100 children working in the factory. (In our interviews, the youngest worker was 14 years old.) 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.

Apart from Samsung’s products being processed on the production lines of HEG Electronics, information on their website also shows that it is doing processing work for Motorola and LG [1].

The following are the violations we discovered in this investigation:

· The factory hires a large number of student and child workers. 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. The rights of these children and students are not properly protected.

· There is discrimination based on sex, age, and individuality during the hiring process.

· Excessive working time. The workers toil 11 hours per day (including 3-5 hours of forced overtime), 6 days per week, 26-28 days per month. Their attendance system is also defective and unfair, negatively influencing the physical and mental health of the student and child workers.

· Legal problems exist in issues regarding the labor contract, remuneration system, and reward and punishment system of the company. There are extremely strict punishments, and the workers are frequently fined.

· Night shift workers are only given time to eat one meal during the 11-hour work shift. The normal meal break is 30-40 minutes long.

· The workers always work under dangerous conditions, and work injuries are common.

For this report, we have chosen to create aliases for the child laborers in order to protect their identities and to prevent possible reprisals from the factory. However, some of their information was disclosed in the report for authenticity purposes. Brand companies could verify workers’ ages by their hiring certificate given upon employment. It is our demand that the relevant brand companies and factories compensate these child workers and help them to get back into school and continue their education.

Based on the results of this CLW investigation of Samsung’s supplier factory, it can be determined that working conditions at HEG are well below those general conditions in Apple’s supplier factories.

Full 31-page report on Samsung’s supplier factory

[1] We have received an e-mail from LG, it said that LG Electronics does not have nor has it ever had any business dealings with HEG Electronics facility in China. They have made a request to HEG that LG’s name be removed from their website and will take legal action if necessary to protect LG’s reputation.

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