Samsung Audit Uncovers Labor Violations at Factories in China; Vows Change

Samsung Audit Uncovers Labor Violations at Factories in China; Vows Change

A long, drawn out legal battle with Apple notwithstanding, Samsung has been on a roll lately. It's Galaxy S III recently jumped past 30 million units sold to become the top selling smartphone, surpassing the mighty iPhone. More recently, Samsung said it shipped 5 million Galaxy Note II phone/tablet (phablet) hybrid devices. Life is good, at least on the retail side.

As far as manufacturing goes, a recent audit conducted by Samsung revealed several labor violations at supplier plants in China. Underage workers wasn't one of them, but overtime hours in excess of local regulations and the imposition of fines for lateness or absences, along with other "inadequate practices," were uncovered.

"We are now designing, researching, and/or implementing corrective actions to address every violation that was identified. Corrective actions include new hiring policies and work hours and overtime practices, among other steps, to protect the health and welfare of employees," Samsung said.

Samsung Phone
Image Source: Flickr (opopododo)

Samsung noted that it has a "zero tolerance policy on child labor violations," and though it didn't uncover any offenses, the company is rolling out a new hiring process. If a supplier is found to violate child labor laws, that contract will be terminated, Samsung said.

"To serve customers better, Samsung mostly manufactures its products in-house through the company’s own facilities, although some manufacturing is outsourced when necessary," Samsung explained. " Unlike companies that rely predominantly on the outsourcing of manufacturing, Samsung can maintain its own high standards throughout its in-house manufacturing network to offer world-class working conditions.

"Samsung takes concerns about working conditions in China seriously and, whenever an issue is identified, we take immediate and appropriate steps to correct it. Our goal is to assess, improve, and continuously monitor every aspect of working conditions at Samsung supplier facilities to meet our own high standards."

That statement is a bit of a dig at Apple and its manufacturing partnership with Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision), which often makes headlines for reports of labor violations and even worker suicides.
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Could this be a defining factor to the termination of contracts with Apple? Smart company to follow on regulations. A large enough company cannot see everything, so it's nice to see the attempts at trying to manage these issues. Even cracking down on the issues that were not even identified, but making added measures to help (hopefully) avoid a future mishap. Honestly, I've seen a lot of companies do overtime outside of regulations, and in most cases it's someone that authorizes it. The reasons are usually immediate in nature and I would assume it was due to demand someone said "offer as much overtime as needed". Samsung being monitored as heavily as they are would not pass under the radar. Especially now that Apple is under such scrutiny.

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Pretty standard for all companies, sad to say.

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