By Cho Mu-hyun
Samsung Electronics said Tuesday it found no child laborers in a factory owned by its Chinese supplier after an investigation following allegations of such practices.
The Korean technology giant inspected the facility of supplier HEG Electronics following a report by New York-based China Labor Watch that it found seven underage workers there.
HEG processes mobile phones, DVDs and stereo equipment for Samsung and other clients include Motorola and LG Electronics.
The labor watch group said in a report posted on its website that it was “stunned by the results” of the investigation and that it found hiring child labor “prevalent” at the factory.
The Suwon-based company dispatched 30 personnel from its headquarters on Aug. 9 to Huizhou, Guangzhou where the factory is located.
According to Samsung, the team conducted one-on-one interviews with all 2,740 employees working in the factory and found none of them to be under the age of 16, the employment of which is forbidden by Chinese labor laws. It did find some high school students, but they were old enough to work there legally.
It did find that a policy of fining those who break factory regulations was going on, which has been forbidden in China since 2008. A lack of medical care and some poor working environments were also discovered, which Samsung has vowed to correct.
The firm is planning two additional large-scale probes into other suppliers. It will form a team of around 100 people to look into 105 firms in China that exclusively supply Samsung, which will be concluded by September. A further 144 companies that have other clients as well will be looked into by the end of the year.
Starting next year, Samsung will start a periodical inspection of all of its partners in China via Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition, a group of global electronics maker that aims to boost social, ethical and environmental responsibility in supply chains.
“Samsung Electronics and its partners will protect the human rights of every employee and continue efforts to become a corporation that is loved by the world,” Samsung said in a statement.