A report from a labor watchdog group says a Chinese company that assembles devices for Samsung hired children at its production facilities and forced employees to work excessive hours, violating labor laws.
Seven children younger than 16 were working in the factory of HEG Electronics (Huizhou) Co. that makes phones and DVD players for Samsung, according to the report issued today. Child workers faced the “same harsh conditions” as adults and were paid only 70 percent of the wages of other workers, according to the New York-based group, which said it conducted investigations in June and July.
China Labor Watch, has previously published reports accusing Foxconn Technology Group, the assembler of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, of running a sweatshop after a spate of suicides, a charge the Taiwanese company denied. This latest report states that the conditions at HEG are “well below” those at Apple suppliers.
“Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG’s working conditions this year but found no irregularities on those occasions,” Nam Ki Yung, a spokesman for Samsung, said in an e-mailed statement. “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.”
Li Qiang, a director of China Labor Watch, said a group member took an undercover position as an employee in order to conduct the investigation. The member interviewed the children.
China Labor Watch did not report the case to any government agencies, Li said. “What we want, most of all, is for the children to go back to school,” Li said by phone.
Calls to two telephone numbers listed on HEG’s website went unanswered, and an email sent to the company’s address bounced back.
The report says that overtime of between three to five hours a day in addition to the routine eight-hour work day is compulsory for employees at the HEG plant. “Child labor is a common practice in the factory,” the report said. Saying that student workers amount to 80 percent of the factory workforce.