Samsung announces corrective measures for working conditions at Chinese suppliers

Back in September, we reported that Samsung was investigating allegations of underage workers building its products at some of the Chinese manufacturers. Samsung initiated an investigation and reported that it had found excessive overtime but no evidence of underage workers. The investigation came after a report from Labor Watch and Samsung's investigation was conducted over a four-week period in September.

Samsung's investigation looked at 105 of its suppliers in China and covered over 65,000 employees. Samsung says that its audit team had 121 trained and certified employees. In addition to the investigation uncovering excessive overtime hours, Samsung also says that management of the supplier companies were holding copies of labor contracts. The investigation discovered a system of fines for lateness or absence.

Samsung says that it is currently reviewing 144 more suppliers in China and plans to have the investigation completed by the end of the year. Next year Samsung plans to continue to monitor working conditions at 249 suppliers in China. Samsung has also announced corrective actions that it is instituting, including a zero-tolerance policy on child labor violations.

Samsung will continue to prohibit hiring discrimination and the company has demanded all suppliers correct irregularities in labor contracts and distribute a copy to all employees. Samsung has also forced suppliers to abolish the fine system for absences or being late. Samsung also demanded adequate safety equipment and training for workers along with first aid kits, and training on sexual harassment and other abuse.

Samsung has also stated that it has identified the need for initiatives to reduce employee overtime. Samsung is researching and developing measures to eliminate hours beyond legal limits by the end of 2014. Samsung has also demanded suppliers cap temporary workers at a maximum of 30% of full-time employees.