Korean tech behemoth Samsung Electronics says that none of the 105 manufacturers of its products and components employ child labour. This comes after extensive on-site inspections during September by 121 trained and certified employees.
This is in reaction to an earlier report by China Labour Watch, a New York labour rights group, that HEG Electronics, a Samsung supplier, was using children younger than 16 in its factories.
Of the 105 suppliers that total about 65 000 workers investigated, Samsung said it “did not identify any instance of child labour”, but did find workers under the age of 18. It also found “several instances of inadequate practices”, ranging from labour contract issues, inappropriate fines for absence and excessive overtime. It did not disclose whether HEG was one of the suppliers visited in that audit.
There company still has to review 144 of its suppliers in China, and from 2013 Samsung will be using a third-party to monitor 249 additional suppliers. In a previous report, Samsung says: “Unlike companies that rely predominantly on the outsourcing of manufacturing, Samsung can maintain its own high standards throughout its in-house manufacturing network to offer world-class working conditions.”
Apple has also recently come under fire from the China Labour Watch, prompting CEO Tim Cook to visit a factory during a trip to China. The US company is a little different to Samsung in that it outsources most of its manufacturing work to subcontractors. Cook found “mostly positive revues” of the factories, after Foxconn, one of its suppliers, admitted earlier in the year it had employed interns as young as 14 years of age at its factories.