Samsung clashes with labor group over allegations of Chinese underage workers

China Labor Watch claims to have found 'child workers' at a Samsung supplier, but the Korean company has denied the allegations

A labor protection group is accusing one of Samsung's suppliers in China of hiring over 10 underage workers to build company components. But the Korean electronics giant was quick to dismiss the allegations, and said it had no "child workers" at the facility.

New York-based China Labor Watch made the accusations on Thursday, claiming in a statement that Samsung supplier HEG Technology had hired the underage workers at its facility in Huizhou, China. The factory, where components for Lenovo are also built, had been in a rush to hire new workers, and neglected to check their identifications, according to the group.

The youngest worker was found to be 14. China forbids factories from hiring workers under the age of 16.

In addition, the factory had also hired 117 college students, many of whom averaged 12.5 hours of work each day, according to the report. The student workers eventually quit their jobs, but complained that the factory owed them money.

Samsung, however, dismissed the allegations' underpinnings. Last week, the company conducted its own investigation of the site, after China Labor Watch had notified Samsung, and said it found no underage workers or student workers at the facility.

"We find it regrettable that CLW [China Labor Watch] issued the allegations today without any mention of our statement," the company said in an email. Prior to China Labor Watch's statement on Thursday, Samsung had also proposed that the company conduct a joint investigation with the labor group to verify the results.

China Labor Watch's executive director Li Qiang said he had personally spoken to one of the student workers over the phone and through a chat client. But after his group alerted Samsung about the labor conditions at the factory, the student worker was no longer taking phone calls.

"She also erased me from QQ [the chat client]. I really don't know what happened," he said in an email.

This is the second instance where China Labor Watch has accused HEG Technology of hiring underage workers, only for Samsung to respond that it found no such workers at the site.

In December 2012, China Labor Watch also alleged that Samsung had deliberately tried to hide the hiring of underage workers at another company supplier in the country.

Samsung has said it has a zero tolerance policy regarding child labor, and actively works with its Chinese suppliers to screen out underage hires. Earlier this year, the company briefly suspended one such supplier after finding evidence that it had unintentionally employed several underage workers.

On Thursday, Lenovo said it was also looking into the matter at the HEG Technology facility, but declined to comment.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags environmentsamsungLenovoElectronics manufacturingHealth and safety

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?