updated 11:55 am EDT, Mon September 3, 2012
New audits ordered, scheduled to be complete by the end of 2012
Samsung Electronics said that it plans on inspecting 250 Chinese parts manufacturers to ensure no labor laws are broken. The move comes following a US-based group's claim that one of Samsung's suppliers is using child labor. Samsung said it would conduct inspections for 105 supplier companies by the end of September, and conclude the investigations on the rest of the manufacturers by inspecting hiring paperwork by the end of the year.
Samsung noted that the audit has already uncovered several instances of inadequate management and other unsafe practices, such as poor medical facilities and extremely long hours in the facility. "If supplier companies are found to be in violation of our policies and corrective actions not taken, Samsung will terminate its contract with those supplier companies," Samsung said.
According to watchdog agency China Labor Watch, a HEG Electronics-owned factory that assembles products for Samsung Electronics has been hiring underage workers, and violating Chinese labor laws. During the investigation, the auditor discovered seven underage workers, and believed that many more illegal workers remained undiscovered by the spot audit.
HEG is accused of accumulating the child-labor pool through poor internal supervision and substandard ID review. Local schools were found to be supplying workers to the factory, and providing them with forged identification claiming legal work age. Children in China often feel obligated to work to help support their families, particularly in rural areas where poverty is acute.