Preparing for a major product release is sure to put strain on any OEM, even more so the supplies they employ to manufacturer these devices. Companies like Samsung and Apple have long been known for employing factory workers in China to help cut some of the costs associated with production — nothing new there. But new allegations from a labor watchdog group believe that one Samsung factory, facing higher than normal demand to get products out the door on time, began employing children and under age students to help get the job done.
According to New York-based Child Labor Watch, some of these children worked for Shinyang Electronics in Dongguan for up to 11 hours a day without overtime pay. Most ended up leaving their jobs after about 3-6 months when demand began to subside, all without any kind of severance pay.
Keep in mind Samsung is usually on top of situations like this and in their own external audit, found no evidence of child labor at their sum 100 Chinese suppliers (although excessive working hours and lack of safety equipment were reportedly commonplace). Child Labor Watch is alleging that working conditions at Samsung’s factories were nothing short of “inhumane.”
Amid these allegations, Samsung made a promise to wipe out labor violations like illegal overtime, doubling down on efforts to prevent hires of children with their suppliers. They even went as far as saying they’d sever relationships with factories not abiding by their requests.
Samsung seemed puzzled by these new allegations of child labor, citing 3 recent inspections in both 2013 and 2014 at their Shinyang Electronics factory that turned up not a single child worker. According to Samsung, they’re now “urgently” looking into these fresh new allegations of child labor.