Investigation finds that child labor and worker abuse is a common practice at Samsung factories

By , Oct 8, 2012

It’s not just Apple. Samsung, too, is taking advantage of cheap child labor who put long hours into someone else’s dream. According to a scathing report titled “Samsung Factory Exploiting Child Labor” and put together by the members of China Labor Watch (CWL), a New York-based non-government organization founded by labor activist Li Qiang, the practice of hiring child labor is “prevalent” at factories run by HEG Electronics, which assembles cell phones, DVDs, stereo equipment and music players for Samsung…

PatentlyApple has more:

The report went on to state that CLW’s research indicated that student laborers amount to 80% of the total workforce in the factory. During their follow up investigations, their investigators suspected that there were a large number of child laborers in other departments of the factory, estimating that there may be 50 to 100 children working there.

It gets worse:

These children were working under the 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.

The top image shows one of the injured Samsung factory workers.


These kids should be in school rather than work 13-hour shifts.

Bloomberg first warned back in August that an undercover investigator found cases of worker abuse at Samsung factories. Moreover, HEG, one of Samsung’s biggest suppliers, allegedly was hiring Chinese children under the age of 16, forcing them to work unreasonable hours, prompting CLW to tell Bloomberg that ”the company has clearly violated Chinese labor laws”, warning that “a serious light needs to be shined on these issues”.

Apparently Samsung forced factory workers to work 11 and 13 hours each day, with a 40 minute lunch break. The report goes on to describe dormitory areas and worker meals as “disgusting”.

Samsung hired Intertek, an international auditing firm to dispute CLW’s own investigation.

However, as PatentlyApple stated, CLW’s investigation showed that some of Intertek’s auditors have “accepted bribery from factories in exchange for letting the firm pass audits despite not meeting requirements”.

A September 122-page analysis of eight Samsung plants where it has a majority stake ranging from 60 to 100 percent found that “the workers have to ask for permission from the team leaders when they want to drink water or use the washroom during work”.

The entire production building prohibits its workers from wearing shoes. All the workers have to wear socks or shoe covers when entering the building.

Previously, the restroom was equipped with slippers, but the investigator only once found a pair of slippers in the restroom during working hours, meaning workers have to go to the restroom with bare feet or socks.

The packaging department is especially problematic.

The Packaging department requires workers to use ethyl alcohol to wipe cell phone covers but doesn’t provide the necessary protective gear such as mask or gloves to the workers. The windows in the workshop are all closed, causing poor ventilation.

The conditions are grim.

The quota is 1000 units per hour and if the production number isn’t met, longer overtime hours will be required to finish it, and these extra overtime hours will not be calculated in the worker’s wages.

And what happens if the workers don’t accept overtime arrangements?

If the workers’ request for leave is not permitted or workers don’t work overtime as the rules stipulate, they will be punished with absenteeism and three days of wages will be deducted.

Of course, it’s not just Apple or Samsung (though Samsung appears to be at a point where Apple was years ago).

I’d bet my shirt that an audit (better yet, an undercover investigation) of any other supplier and factory churning out shiny gadgets for Silicon Valley gadget makers would find similar, if not worse, cases of child labor and worker abuse.

That’s not to say we should sit on the sidelines, but I fear there’s not enough willingness to address the situation.

Apple only responded with greater scrutiny of its supply chain and wage increases when big media cornered club Cupertino with these issues.

Perhaps it’s now Samsung’s turn to feel some of the hate of the general public, who just cannot comprehend how big companies can pay billions to Asian contractors, yet failing to see their partners treat workers assembling the products with dignity and respect.

It’s just appalling, regardless of the company involved.

Looks like the case for The New York Times’s iEconomy series, no?

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

    And people thought Foxconn was bad.

  • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

    Is this a surprise?

  • pawfyd

    The exact same thing happens in every factory. Apple is just better in hiding it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1384316579 Byron C Mayes

    Of course it’s not just Apple. And it’s not just Apple and Samsung. Pretty much all makers of consumer electronics, major and minor, have some part of their supply chain in China. That’s how so many of us in the US can afford to buy them. Simply sharing the hate” in one other direction isn’t going to end this problem.

  • Dan

    This just in: the sky is blue.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Sejo87 Sejad Jr Sejdic

      LMAO so true people live in denial.

  • Lordthree

    Factories that produced Apple products were found to have employed several underage persons in 2010 and the situation was IMMEDIATELY remedied.

    Factories DIRECTLY opperated by Samsung were found to employ HUNDREDS of under sixteen children in august 2012 and Samsung immediately bribed Intertek’s auditors to make the situation to away.

    All Samsung’s record profit off janky plastic knock-off phones is the direct result of CONTINUING child labor. 

    Boycott Samsung NOW.

    • Eric Armstrong

      Your comment reminds me of the Samsung ad that compared the iPhone 5 to the Galaxy S III. Just like that stupid ad, you compare two things, and make one side look significantly better than the other. An example from the ad: “a totally different plug” vs “standard micro USB plug”.
      I’m a huge fan of Apple, so my goal isn’t to praise Samsung and bash Apple, just that your argument is incredibly bias. You make Apple sound a lot better than Samsung, when really, they are both guilty of the same thing….

      • Lordthree

        Not really. Apple isn’t in direct control over every detail that happens in Foxconn plants. These 8 plants are DIRECTLY controlled by Samsung. Apple fixed it immediately (child labor is very bad news here in the states- I don’t know if your old enough to remember all the bad PR Nike got back in the 80’s when the US found out about their labor. Ever since then US companies have put in place strict regulations.
        Samsung was proven to have BRIBED the auditors and continues to employ children in hostile conditions with no ventilation. These two things are not the same as you seem to think.
        Samsung has utter disregard for these workers. Apple has gone above and beyond the Chinese standards to ensure the the working conditions at Foxconn are some of the best in China.
        Very childish of you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Sejo87 Sejad Jr Sejdic

        Where are these facts that Samsung is bribing people? I wouldn’t mind reading this article or w/e it is.

      • Lordthree

        comparing labor violations to an ad? nice

      • http://twitter.com/clappingfetus ClappingFetus.com

        well this is an Apple product centric news blog. thats why i prefer to read these types of stories on less biased websites. but if i want apple news ill come here

  • Eric Armstrong

    Oh whew. I thought it was just Apple, but now that I know that Samsung also exercises poor business practices, I feel a lot better. Since everyone is taking advantage of cheap child labor, it must be acceptable! ……….

    • Lordthree

      Apple ISN’T, hasn’t for years, and was unaware that foxconn hired minors! Big difference!

  • Techpm

    Didn’t you get the memo? This is only a problem worthy of widespread backlash and media coverage when It happens to Apple.

    Companies who ship more products under these conditions and own the factories are not to be held liable.

  • seyss

    ᶘ ᵒᴥᵒᶅ

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.wayman.7 Craig Wayman

    ANYTHING MADE IN CHINA WILL HAVE F’d UP LABOR PRACTICES!!!!!! ie Child labor, long hours, little breaks, and little pay….. End of story…. Roll Credits….. Do we want to make thing better???? Stop buying or boycott stuff made in China!!!! But no. We are Americans and we love cheap stuff at the expense of people that live in poverty or communist countries.

    • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

      Well pay 10 times more for your devices then.

  • Lordthree

    LOL! My comment was HIDDEN due to ABUSE REPORTS? REALLY? Christian can you fix that?

  • Yujin

    Using North Koreans?

    • Kurt

      for a korean, you are an idiot

  • http://twitter.com/FlyKitezDaily Lou

    Can’t believe you yanks spell LABOUR wrong. Along with many other words you spell incorrectly and pronounce wrong. Anyway all of these company’s are scum, they must know what happend’s behind closed doors, these aren’t the only types of company where this behaviour occurs.

    • The Real Kurt

      US spelling.

  • http://twitter.com/clappingfetus ClappingFetus.com

    i dont know about you but i think those kids in the picture need to get back to work and quit being wusses.

  • The Real Kurt

    Where’s Tr1pTr0p?

    • sadaN

      Sooner or later he’ll come up with an ever-so-clever comment as usual…

    • Kurt

      You are triptrop -.-

      • Kurt

        congratulations you figured out how to pretend you are me twice. good job Liu Zhenyu.

      • Kurt

        Who the fuck is liuzhenyu?

      • Kurt

        you are, -.- is a typical emoticon for asians. i would know i live here ^^ …and you are him trying to get revenge for what triptrop did. but something about him scares you so you go after the next person you have beef with.

        btw, i like my name so seeing “Kurt” or your other “The Real Kurt”, instead of Liu Zhenyu is more than welcome ㅋㅋ

      • Kurt

        Alright Kurt, I’ll be honest with ya, I’m sorry for me impersonating people like you after being a victim of Tr1pTr0p, he basically admitted to me he was the one. But I swear to god I DID NOT use the name “The Real Kurt” or “Emre” to write on this blog. Sorry for this and I will delete this account. If you see anymore posts by ‘Kurt’ or ‘The Real Kurt’ I can assure you it is not me, I am already tired of insulting people. I can however tell you that they are likely by Tr1pTr0p, I am not trolling to get you fight or anything like that, to be honest, I have not checked this blog for around 2 weeks and anyone who seems to be like ‘Me’ you assume to be me, especially ‘The Real Kurt’, who is Tr1pTr0p and saying I have the same name in the post ‘Android Catching up with iPad’ . I do not write gay stuff like ‘:P’ like he did there. I swear I am telling the truth again. I apologise one last time and once you reply to this I will delete this account, or never use it ever again.

      • Kurt

        please don’t worry. i know you didn’t like it when triptrop did it to you. so i was surprised you would do it to someone else. but i figured you just need to get it out so i ignored it. sorry for thinking “the real kurt” was you. his name used to be “kurt”…but i don’t think it’s triptrop. “the real kurt” is an apple fanboy. triptrop definitely isn’t. unless he is willing to write 60 pro apple comments :-s i doubt it’s him. so thats why i figured it was you. for whatever its worth i’d rather you come back as Liu Zhenyu. just remember, im not a fagdroid, 1. im against gay marriage 2. i never owned an android device. i used the galaxy tab 2 times but that was to play youtube videos. so i’m no fanboy obviously

      • Kurt

        Alright, I’ll come back as Liu Zhenyu with avatar then. Thx. Tr1pTr0p was banned i think, his comments are all gone, maybe cos i sent the iDB crew about this.

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        ‘The Real Kurt’ is hell no apple fanboy, he is obviously Tr1pTr0p, you know why? He said i had the same writing style as “Emre’ guy, he knew someone impersonated me and maybe staged everything, its reasonable doubt bro.

      • Kurt

        i dont remember “Emre”…triptrop wrote that or him under TRK? did triptrop stop writing under your name? i havent seen anything lately

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        He has assumed the identity of ‘iFone’…

      • Kurt

        ahhhhhhhhh i remember emre. that’s probably “the real kurt”…he’s a real low life. probably him now to think of it. sorry i thought it was you this whole time

      • Kurt Andersen

        lol

      • Kurt Andersen

        I was just trolling back then to cause some arguments, it’s fun to see people over the comments section raging over an operating system.

      • Kurt

        thumbs up for that~

      • Kurt

        And btw, Tr1pTr0p’s account was banned, thus he is using names like ‘iFone’ and ‘The Real Kurt’ BTW, ‘The Real Kurt’ I swear it is not me.

      • Kurt

        he hasn’t been banned. go to the top of the comments, click on “community” and you can see he is still there and an active member. come back as Liu Zhenyu

      • http://www.facebook.com/xxLIUZHENYUxx Liu Zhenyu

        Alright, I’m back

      • Kurt

        awesomeness…welcome back~

      • Kurt Andersen

        Um, no.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1769816470 Albion Goxhaj

    Wow that phone in the picture is sooo nice. Is that a concept future I phone? I wish the I phone 5 looked like thaT and had android as an Os. I would have stayed outside of an apple store as an iship for the ihay for many days. At least it would have been worth a little.
    People why are you so blind and ignorant. Apple is a rip off company. Shame on Apple for taking advantage on mentally disabled people.
    Wake up and value your money that you work so hard for. Buy a phone that would justify that chunk of hard earned cash. In a way you all are apple Foxconn slaves. At least Samsung only takes advantage of Chinese employees and not its costumers.
    Peace and be smart

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    they are forcing kids to make those damn crappy and droid phones.. what a shame..