Samsung partner accused of exploiting child labour

A US-based campaign group, China Labor Watch, has alleged that a key supplier to leading handset vendor Samsung is using child labour in its factory. HEG Electronics is described by CLW as “an important partner” to Samsung, working on the production of a range of consumer electronics products, including monbile phones and DVD players.

CLW said that it conducted three investigations at HEG’s factory during June and July this year, in one case finding seven children under the age of 16 working alongside adult employees. The group said that follow-up reports suggested the number of children working for HEG could be as high as 100. The children, the youngest of whom was 14, were being paid 70 per cent of adult salaries.

“Moreover, these child workers were often required to carry-out dangerous tasks that resulted in injury,” said CLW in a statement, adding that HEG also provides services to Motorola and LG.

Samsung – which is a high profile communications sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics – responded by pledging to dispatch its own investigative team to the Chinese factory and to “take appropriate measures to correct any problems that may surface.”

In addition the Korean vendor said that previous investigations into HEG had found nothing untoward.

“Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG’s working conditions this year but found no irregularities on those occastions,” the firm said. “Samsung is a company held to the highest standards of working conditions and we try to maintain that at our facilities and the facilities of partner companies around the world.”

CLW outlined grim working conditions at the HEG factory, with employees working 11-hour shifts, six days a week. Night shift workers were given only one meal break during their 11-hour shift, the group said, which lasted 30 – 40 minutes.

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