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China – Samsung the latest firm accused of mistreating workers

06 December 2013

A supplier for South Korean firm Samsung Electronics is not paying some overtime to workers at its mobile-phone factory in China, according to New York-based labour rights group China Labour Watch (CLW), reports the South China Morning Post.

Samkwang Science & Technology in Dongguan also violated Chinese labour laws by discriminating against men, pregnant women, ethnic minorities, and applicants older than 39, CLW said in a report. The allegations are based on an undercover investigation of the factory.

Samsung, Asia's largest technology company and the world's biggest maker of mobile phones, said it had no immediate comment on the report. The South Korea-based company has come under scrutiny for the way its component suppliers treat workers.

According to the report, an investigator was sent to work on the Samkwang production line for two weeks assembling mobile phone covers and screens in the plant that employs more than 5,000 people.

The investigation by CLW has revealed that the treatment of Samsung’s Chinese factory workers is far from model. The list of illegal and inhumane violations is long, including but not limited to well over 100 hours of forced overtime work per month, unpaid work, standing for 11 to 12 hours while working, underage workers, severe age and gender discrimination, abuse of student and labour dispatch workers, a lack of worker safety, and verbal and physical abuse. Moreover, workers lack of any effective internal grievance channel through which they could seek to rectify these transgressions.

Collectively, workers at the plant accrued more than USD 84,000 in overtime pay each month, which the company failed to pay, according to the statement. On an annual basis, this equates to more than USD 1 million in unpaid overtime.

Samsung reported in October that net income, excluding minority interest, rose by +25% to KRW 8.05 trillion (USD 7.6 billion) in the third quarter.

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