Tech king rebuts claims of child labor in China

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Tech king rebuts claims of child labor in China

Samsung Electronics said Monday that a probe of its suppliers in China had found no evidence of the use of child labor, as has been alleged, but did uncover some “inadequate” employment practices that needed to be remedied.

The Korean technology giant inspected 105 Chinese partners in September following a report by China Labor Watch that claimed at least one supplier was employing children under the age of 16.

The U.S.-based watchdog said staff at some plants were forced to work up to five times the legal overtime limit and denied their basic labor rights.

Samsung said its investigators had reviewed employment records at all 105 suppliers and conducted face-to-face ID checks, but “did not identify any instance of child labor.”

However, they did find “several instances of inadequate practices” including excessive overtime and a system of fines imposed for lateness or absenteeism.

“We have identified the need for initiatives to reduce employee overtime as a top priority, and we are researching and developing measures that will eliminate hours beyond legal limits by the end of 2014,” Samsung said in a statement.

Samsung said it would finish reviewing 144 additional suppliers by the end of this year.

From 2013, working conditions at all 249 suppliers in China would be monitored by a third party audit program, it added.

“Although we did not identify any child labor during our audits in September, we have demanded all suppliers to adopt a new hiring process immediately, and contracts with suppliers who use child labor will be terminated,” the statement said.

Suppliers will also be required to correct irregularities in labor contracts, and to provide adequate safety equipment and sufficient safety training.

Managers will receive additional training on sexual harassment and physical and verbal abuse, while hotlines are being established for workers to report any inhumane treatment or labor violation, Samsung said.

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