One of Samsung’s suppliers in China, Shinyang Electronics, is being accused of violating child labour laws in a new report from China Labour Watch (CLW).
China Labour Watch is a nonprofit that investigates working conditions in Chinese manufacturing facilities. CLW has also investigated labour practices from Apple’s Chinese suppliers. In 2013, for example, CLW reported allegedly horrible working conditions in factories owned by Apple supplier Pegatron.
In this case, CLW says it sent undercover investigators to Shinyang Electronics and found five workers under the age of 16 within three days. During its investigation in June, CLW says it found at least 20 more underage workers. Some of the child workers were pulling 11-hour shifts, but were only paid for 10 hours, the report says.
CLW says it found several other potential violations at Shinyang Electronics, which makes covers and other parts for Samsung phones. The report says CLW investigators found evidence of improper safety training, discriminatory hiring (only hiring males), and not allowing employees to resign without approval from a manager.
CLW investigators says they interviewed child workers at Shinyang Electronics who claimed to be as young as 14. One 15-year-old was fired after two days without being paid for the work he did, the report says. CLW says child workers at the factory make the equivalent of about $US1.20 per hour.
The investigators were able to identify the child workers by comparing their employee IDs to their real IDs, according to the report. Shinyang Electronics is supposed to verify worker ages, but the report says several child workers have slipped through the cracks.
In a statement to Business Insider, a Samsung spokesperson said the company will investigate the allegations in CLW’s new report. The spokesperson also said Samsung conducted audits of its suppliers in August 2013 and June 2014 and found no evidence of child labour.
“At Samsung Electronics, we deeply care about the health and safety of all our employees and employees at our suppliers, and strictly maintain a zero tolerance policy on child labour,” the Samsung spokesperson said.
Samsung also requires its suppliers to verify the identity of employees to eliminate any underage workers from slipping through the system. For example, suppliers are supposed to use electronic scanners that can detect fake IDs. However, CLW’s report claims Shinyang Electronics didn’t use such scanners.