Well butter my ass and call me a biscuit—a watchdog organization has found more evidence of labor violations in a Chinese electronics manufacturing facility that supplies parts to Samsung. And this time, Samsung is acknowledging the violations!
Samsung announced Monday that it will permanently halt business with the Shinyang Electronics factory in Dongguan, China if allegations of child exploitation turn out to be true. The announcement came just two weeks after Samsung released its 2014 sustainability report claiming to find no evidence of child labor in its suppliers’ factories, and less than one week after labor watchdog group China Labor Watch released a report in which its undercover operations found five child laborers—and possibly more—being exploited in the Shinyang Electronics factory—among other labor violations.
China Labor Watch’s report, released July 10, found that the Shinyang Electronics factory has been employing underage workers (the legal working age in China is 16), and that despite working the same number of hours and performing the exact same jobs as adult workers, child workers are paid one-third less. They’re also working 11-hour shifts while only being paid for 10 of those hours, and many go hungry during their night shifts.
This isn’t the first time CLW has found child laborers in Samsung’s supplier factories. In 2012, the group revealed that it had uncovered child laborers in a Samsung supplier factory in Huizhou called HEG. Samsung conducted its own investigation later and claimed to find no evidence of child labor in the facility. But later that same year, CLW found even more child workers in another Huizhou-based facility called HTNS.
CLW actually provided Samsung with the names of three child workers, but when Samsung went to the HTNS facility to investigate the charges, two of the child workers had been mysteriously let go and one was using an ID that was clearly fake, belonging to an older woman who had reported her ID missing.
On June 30, Samsung’s “Global Harmony” sustainability report claimed to find no labor violations at its supplier factories, even though CLW’s report found 15 at the Shinyang Electronics facility alone. Samsung said it conducted three audits since 2013, the latest of which was June 25 of this year.
“CLW’s investigation again provides evidence for Samsung’s flawed auditing system and social responsibility reports are meant to appease investors and lack any real value for the improving conditions of workers in Samsung’s supply chain,” CLW’s report notes.
Samsung has said that if the allegations of child labor prove to be true, it will permanently sever ties with the Shinyang Electronics factory. But given the fact that the last time it was presented with evidence, its own investigation turned up nothing, I’ve got a million bajillion dollars that says its investigation once again finds no evidence of wrongdoing.