KOREAN HARDWARE GIANT Samsung has found instances of unsafe practices at one of its suppliers after audits were carried out over concerns that were raised about child labour.
Samsung responded to allegations made by China Labour Watch last month that children under the age of 16 were being employed by HEG Electronics, one of Samsung's suppliers. After Samsung conducted an audit of HEG, it reported that no children were found working for the firm but it did identify "several instances of inadequate management and potentially unsafe practices".
According to Samsung, it found that HEG was running a system of fines for employees that were late or absent. The firm also found instances of overtime beyond the local regulation of nine hours a week, while health and safety measures were inadequate.
Samsung said it ordered HEG to improve working conditions and that the firm must comply with labour laws, while reiterating that if cases of child employment are found, Samsung will terminate its contracts with the firm immediately.
Samsung also said it will complete onsite inspections of all 105 suppliers in China that solely produce Samsung products and said it will review documentation on 144 Chinese suppliers that produces products for Samsung and other firms by the end of the year. The firm also said it will contract the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition to conduct regular onsite inspections of all Chinese suppliers in 2013.
Apple faced a barrage of criticism for its links with Foxconn after a number of reports cited poor working conditions and suicides at factories operated by the firm. Samsung's actions to curb employer abuses mirror those of Apple, and highlight the price paid by some to supply shiny gadgets to others. µ