Foxconn factory assembly line, China.

Outsourcing labor brings many benefits to manufacturers, but it can also create some altercations. China has become a popular place for manufacturing gadgets, but the rest of the world doesn’t agree with the suppliers’ usual working conditions. We see these issues rising often, but the latest dispute involves the most powerful Android manufacturer.

New York-based China Labor Watch is making accusations that Shinyang Electronics is hiring children to produce Samsung products in Dongguan. These laborers are said to work for over 11 hours a day with no overtime pay or social insurance. Furthermore, they allege the workers would get no severance pay after leaving the job, usually 3-6 months after, when Samsung demand declined.

Battling child labor has become an important world-wide effort; one manufacturers can no longer escape. As expected, Samsung claims they will take no part in child labor or unfair working conditions, which doesn’t exclude their suppliers’ employer practices.

china-android

Routinal audits have become a standard for Samsung. The manufacturer claims no child labor was discovered in their March 2013, August 2013 and June 2014 audits, but that they will further investigate China Labor Watch’s accusations.

Samsung promises they will take the necessary steps, shall they find out these accusations are correct. Some of the precautionary steps they have adopted include face-to-face interviews, the use of a scanner to detect fake IDs, distribution of supplier guidelines and even facial recognition technology.

Could Samsung’s supplier still be sneaking in some minors? We suppose there is a chance, and China Labor Watch did accuse Samsung of “turning a blind eye” about these issues, in 2012. Whether that is the case or not, Samsung says they are all over this case at the moment.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1-2

The manufacturer has also provided us with the Child Labor Prohibition Policy adopted and announced by Samsung. This can be downloaded straight from their website, and it’s available in English as well.

This problem expands way past Samsung – it’s a global struggle we have been battling for long. Companies like Samsung and Apple are caught in the fire because they have enough pull to make a difference, but ultimately it’s the suppliers who get the direct blame for unjust working conditions and child labor.

Samsung does claim they produce about 90% of their own products, and these factories follow all expectations of fair labor. This may not be enough, but it’s a good start. At least it seems like the popular Android manufacturer is trying hard.

Comments
Read comments