Samsung finds excess overtime but no underage workers at Chinese plant

Samsung has revealed the preliminary results of a contractor labor conditions investigation, finding no signs of child workers at HEG Electronics plants but evidence of unfair overtime demands. Allegations of poor conditions at the Chinese contractor were made back in August, prompting Samsung to dispatch a team of inspectors; they discovered statutory overtime expectations and the threat of fines for misdemeanors like turning up late.

The team also discovered poor working conditions, and that the HEG Electronics plant did not conduct health screenings for employees. However, while the China Labor Watch organization claimed to have discovered at least seven people working at the plant who were under the age of 16 at the time, Samsung says it saw no such staffing on the days it investigated.

That's a good thing for HEG, as Samsung says it has a zero-tolerance policy for child labor. Should the contractor be found to be employing underage staff, Samsung insists it will immediately terminate its agreement with the firm.

Obviously HEG – or any other contractor under investigation – could shift around staff so that underage workers weren't present on the same days as investigators. However, Samsung says it will push ahead with a full HEG inspection program of the more than 100 sites, to be completed by the end of September.

Meanwhile, Samsung plans to work with third-party verification agencies, such as the Electronic Industry Citizen Coalition (EICC), in 2013.