Samsung accused of labour violations in China

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South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics has announced that it would check on its nearly 250 manufacturing firms in China, after a US rights group accused them of labour violations.

China Labour Watch, a US rights group, recently reported that HEG Electronics, a firm assembling mobile phones for Samsung in the southern Chinese city of Huizhou, employed children under the age of 16.

The group also accused Samsung of widespread “legal and inhumane violations” by forcing employees at its Chinese factories to work up to five times the legal overtime limit. The Tianjin Samsung Mobile Display factory put in as many as 189 hours overtime in a month, when the legal limit is 36 hours, said the report.

In a report by AFP, Samsung said that on-site inspections would be carried out at 105 Chinese firms with exclusive Samsung contracts, while 144 non-exclusive suppliers would be required to provide documentary proof of their compliance with labour codes.

"We are implementing a rigorous plan to address any potential violations," the company said in a statement, vowing to terminate contracts with any Chinese suppliers in violation of labour norms.

This is not the first time that China’s manufacturing firms have been accused of labour violations. Foxconn, Apple’s major supplier in China, has had several scandals in the past year due to a string of worker suicides related to poor working conditions.

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