Samsung suspends Chinese firm over child labour ‘evidence”

Samsung Electronics has suspended business ties with a Chinese supplier after finding evidence of child labour at a factory.

The South Korean company – the world's biggest smartphone maker – said it had conducted its own investigation into claims Dongguan Shinyang Electronics had used child workers and “conducted illegal hiring”.

Samsung acted after China Labor Watch said children and others under 18 worked at Shinyang for three to six months to meet production targets during a period of high demand.

Around the world, 168million children are forced to work – making them missing out on schooling and depriving them of their childhood.

The electronics giant announced it had conducted its own investigation into the claims. A blog on the Samsung Electronics website said: “Following the investigation, Samsung decided to temporarily suspend business with the factory in question as it found evidences of suspected child labour at the worksite. The decision was made in accordance with Samsung's zero tolerance policy on child labor.

“It is unfortunate that the allegation surfaced despite Samsung’s efforts to prevent child labour at its suppliers. As part of its pledge against child labour, Samsung routinely conducts inspections to monitor its suppliers in China to ensure they follow the commitment, and has provided necessary support.

“For Dongguan Shinyang Electronics, Samsung has conducted audits on three occasions since 2013, with the latest one ending on June 25, 2014. No cases of child labor were found during these audits.

“In the separate investigation following the CLW allegations, however, Samsung found evidences of illegal hiring process that took place on June 29. The Chinese authorities are also looking into the case

“If the investigations conclude that the supplier indeed hired children illegally, Samsung will permanently halt business with the supplier.”

The report by New York-based watchdog China Labor Watch said at least five child workers under 16 were hired for 10 hours a day but worked 11 hours.

It detailed 15 labour violations discovered during its undercover investigation. They included child labour, the absence of safety training, no overtime wages and no social insurance for
temporary workers, who constituted at least 40% of 1200 employees at the Chinese cellphone parts supplier for Samsung.

Dongguan Shinyang Electronics has not commented on the situation.

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