Another report from a Chinese labour watchdog suggests that reports of underage and abused employees in the gadget manufacturing industry only scratched the surface.
A four-month investigation by China Labor Watch [PDF] has revealed “severe labour abuses” at six Samsung-owned factories and two suppliers. Unpaid labour, forced and excessive overtime hours, and physical and verbal abuse are some of the violations detailed in the report.
The report goes on to explain how workers are forced to stand for 12 hours at a time, as well as being subjected to widespread discrimination based on age, gender and personal appearance. It’s also claimed that at least three factories are employing underage workers.
Earlier this week, a Samsung audit declared that claims of underage workers at its HEG Electronics facility in Huizhou, China, were unfounded — although the company did find plenty of other problems that it needed to remedy.
This latest news, however, suggests that the problems spread far beyond a single factory. Of course, it’s not just Samsung’s problem: the worst conditions were found at supplier factories, claims the watchdog. To give you a flavour of what that means, imagine standing 11 hours a day, constructing one mobile phone case every five seconds, and then being forced to work 150 overtime hours per month during peak seasons.
Samsung has acknowledged the overtime issues to the Wall Street Journal, but China Labor Watch is calling for an overhaul of manufacturing practices, explaining that it “can and must improve labour conditions”. Quite how far such a call will go in preventing underage employment and worker abuse remains to be seen. [China Labor Watch via The Verge]
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