Business / Companies

No child laborers at Samsung supplier: Report

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou ( Updated: 2014-07-17 14:42

Investigators found no child workers at the factory of a Chinese supplier to the world's largest smartphone maker, Samsung, according to a preliminary report.

The report was released on Wednesday, two days after Samsung temporarily stopped doing business with the supplier, Dongguan Shinyang, a subsidiary of South Korea's Shinyang Engineering.

This followed claims that Samsung's monitoring of suppliers' labor practices had been lax.

US-based China Labor Watch said it recently found "at least five child workers" without contracts at the Dongguan-based supplier, according to Reuters.

The new report, which was made public by Dongguan's human resource and labor authority, said there had been no child laborers at the supplier during the past few months.

Samsung said it had conducted three audits of the supplier since 2013, the latest of which ended on June 25.

It said it found no evidence of child labor despite the China Labor Watch accusations.

The South Korean electronics giant is asking its global suppliers to sign a compliance agreement to prevent the hiring of child labor.

The Dongguan factory in Guangdong province supplies mobile phone shells and other accessories to a Samsung subsidiary in neighbouring Huizhou.

Samsung said it will permanently cut ties with the supplier if the allegations prove to be true. This would be in line with its zero-tolerance policy on child workers, which was implemented in November 2012.

China Daily's calls to the supplier and Samsung for comments went unanswered on Wednesday.

China's labor law forbids the hiring of workers under the age of 16.

The Dongguan labor authority said companies would be severely punished if they were found to be employing children.

Over the past two months 11 cases involving the use of child workers were discovered in Dongguan, according to the authority.

Its report acknowledged that some students aged below 16, usually from under-developed inland regions and provinces, traveled to Dongguan to find temporary jobs during the summer vacation. The city is home to thousands of manufacturers.

According to the report, Dongguan's education authorities have developed a system with their counterparts in inland regions and provinces to regulate the summer job market for students.

The local government said it will introduce a long-term system to prevent the use of child workers and companies will be exposed publicly if they are found to employ workers under the age of 16.

Some large international companies have previously been embroiled in accusations that their suppliers in Dongguan used child laborers.

For example, the US-based National Labor Committee said a Dongguan-based supplier used by Microsoft had hired child workers for its processing lines in 2010.


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