Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has suspended its business with a South Korean-owned molder in China in the midst of child labor allegations.
Samsung said on July 14 it made the decision to suspend Dongguan Shinyang Electronics Co. Ltd., after it conducted an investigation immediately following a China Labor Watch report that accused Shinyang of hiring children under age 16.
CLW’s Kevin Slaten told Plastics News on July 15 that the New York-based nonprofit organization gathered direct evidence of five child workers but suspect that there could have been as many as 20 children working in the same facility.
“Based on interviews with some of the children, the factory management intentionally let them into the factory without making them pass the facial recognition system,” he said.
These temporary workers were made to work 11 hour night shifts as well as on the weekend, but were paid less than adult workers logging in the same hours, the CLW report said.
The children assembled plastic parts with tweezers, the report said. Slaten said CLW is unclear about whether there were child workers in Shinyang’s injection molding operations.
CLW uncovered these findings through an undercover investigator working in the facility.
Samsung said in a statement that it has conducted audits on three occasions since 2013, with the latest one ending on June 25. “No cases of child labor were found during these audits.” But Samsung admitted its latest probe “found evidences of suspected child labor at the worksite.”
It added it will permanently halt business with Shinyang if the investigations conclude that the supplier indeed hired children illegally, in accordance with its “zero-tolerance policy on child labor.”
Samsung also said it will strengthen its hiring process not only at its own production facilities but also at its suppliers.
Samsung did not respond to questions from Plastics News regarding child labor in Shinyang’s injection molding operations.
Shinyang is wholly owned by Korean investors and mainly produces plastic parts such as cell phone housings for Samsung, according to its recruitment page on a popular Chinese job site. It posted four openings for injection molding workers on July 3, among other positions.