Samsung Accused of Labor Problems in China
It's been a tricky month for South Korean technology company Samsung. The company, which toppled Nokia as the largest seller of mobile phones earlier this year, has been in an ongoing patent dispute with Apple over smart phone technology. It has also scored some negative publicity in the blogging community for the apparent way it treated some bloggers in India.
And today it wakes up to find itself accused of labor violations at its factories in China. The accusation comes from the China Labor Watch group. They released a report today revealing the results of its investigation into eight factories in China, six of which were owned by Samsung, whilst the other two made products for the company but were owned by suppliers.
The report reveals that staff were being forced to work 100 hours of overtime each month. They were also working a significant number of unpaid hours in unsafe conditions.
The report says that workers at the eight factories also have to endure "standing for 11 to 12 hours while working, underage workers, severe age and gender discrimination, abuse of student and labor dispatch workers, a lack of worker safety, and verbal and physical abuse."
"This sort of illegal and inhumane treatment is rampant among Samsung's factories and supply chain. We demand that Samsung immediately begin the process of rectifying these abuses. With profits of over $12 billion in 2011, we are confident that Samsung has the wherewithal to systematically improve labor conditions for its network of factories and supplier factories in China," the report continues.
The report concluded an investigation that ran from May to August this year, examining factories in Tianjin, Weihai, Huizhou, Suzhou, and Shenzhen. The eight factories have a combined workforce of nearly 25,000 employees.
Earlier this year similar allegations labelled against Apple factories forced the company to work with Foxconn, its supply chain partner, to improve working conditions in the factories that made Apple products.
It is unclear at this state whether a similar outcome will occur with Samsung.