A four-month investigation by China Labor Watch has revealed "severe labor abuses" at six Samsung-owned factories and two of its suppliers. A press release details abuses including unpaid labor, forced and excessive overtime hours, and physical and verbal abuse.
The report goes on to explain how workers are forced to stand for 12 hours at a time, as well as being subjected to widespread discrimination based on age, gender, and personal appearance. Perhaps most upsetting of all is that the report also claims that at least three factories are employing underage workers.
Earlier this week a Samsung audit declared that claims of underage workers at its HEG Electronics facility in Huizhou, China, were unfounded—though the company did find plenty of other problems that it needed to remedy.
This latest news, however, suggests that the problems spread far beyond that single factory. Of course, it's not just Samsung's problem: though some of the factories are majority-owned by Samsung, the worst conditions were found at supplier factories, claims the watchdog. To give you a flavor of exactly what that means, imagine standing 11 hours a day, constructing one cell phone case every five seconds, and being forced to work 150 overtime hours per month during peak seasons.
Samsung has, for what it's worth, admitted to the Wall Street Journal that it knows about some of the overtime issues, but China Labor Watch is calling for it to overhaul its practices, explaining that it "can and must improve labor conditions". Quite how far such a call will go in preventing underage employment and worker abuse, though, remains to be seen. [China Labor Watch via Verge]
Image by opopododo under Creative Commons license