Samsung swings into action over suppliers' labour violations

27 November 2012

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27 November 2012 | Anna Reynolds

Excessive working hours and fines for employees who are late or absent were among the violations uncovered by an audit into suppliers to Samsung in China.

The electronics firm carried out the review of 105 suppliers covering more than 65,000 staff in September. It was prompted by a series of investigations carried out by the organisation China Labor Watch into factories where Samsung products are made, which alleged poor working conditions.

The audit found cases of inadequate practices including long working hours, a system imposing fines for lateness or absences, and management keeping the details of labour contracts, rather than employees themselves holding them. There was also evidence suppliers had breached either Samsung’s own code of conduct or local labour laws.

As a result, Samsung has committed to developing a long-term plan by the end of 2012 to resolve working hour practices and will ensure suppliers correct any irregularities in labour contracts, which should be distributed among staff. The company is also looking to improve health and safety in vendor factories and has demanded suppliers provide safety equipment, training and first aid kits. Measures are also being developed to stop work beyond legal limits by the end of 2014.

Furthermore, Samsung has introduced a new hiring process for all suppliers that will strengthen policies against child labour – although no instance of this was found during the audits - and will provide training for the new rules to be enforced.

The business is also currently reviewing 144 more vendors in China, which will be completed by the end of this year. Samsung has said it will continue to monitor working conditions through a third party audit programme by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition.

Samsung has not provided any further comment.

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