back to article Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations

Samsung has threatened to cut ties with a key supplier after the latter was accused of hiring children to work in its factory. Last week, Child Labor Watch (CLW) claimed the Chinese firm Dongguan Shinyang Electronics employed underage workers during busy periods - and then paid them a pittance. Now Samsung has announced it …

  1. wyatt

    I'm sure if every company looked hard enough into their business in a developing country they'd find evidence of child/slave/forced labour and poor working conditions. There is no other way to lower costs than reduce your outgoings, be it substandard construction or low wages.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      >There is no other way to lower costs than reduce your outgoings, be it substandard construction or low wages.

      Then you shouldn't be in business.

    2. Bullseyed

      Free Agent

      Apple has reportedly been scrambling to sign said supplier, citing synergy with their suicide centric factories already in China.

  2. unwarranted triumphalism

    It's still Apple's fault.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Clean, simple troll

        It also lacks a good rant, a good troll must have a rant somewhere. No bonus points for thinking of the children or mentioning terrorists either. Tragic.

        Nah, at a stretch I'd give 6/10.

  3. Norm DePlume

    Weasel words

    "It is unfortunate that the allegation surfaced despite Samsung’s efforts to prevent child labor at its suppliers," Samsung said.

    So it's unfortunate that the allegations surfaced, not that they might be true?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lost in translation?

    If the investigations conclude that the supplier indeed hired children illegally, Samsung will permanently halt business with the supplier in accordance with its zero tolerance policy on child labor.

    Maybe it's just me, but the way that reads implies that there is a way to hire children legally, and then it's all A-OK. I hope this is just expressed badly.

    1. d3rrial

      Re: Lost in translation?

      Why shouldn't it be legal to hire children? The problem only starts when they're being exploited, like being paid unfairly, housed poorly, too hard work, too long working hours, etc.

      As it is, Chinese wages are relatively low and many families have come to expect from their children to find jobs, to support the family, as well as themselves.

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      What's wrong with hiring children?

      I was building computers by 8. By 12 I was running smallish networks, and I put myself through high school by working at various businesses as well as running decent-sized networks. By the time I finished post-secondary I had over a decade of experience in computers with at least a decade of that being actual network administration.

      There are labour laws about how much work a minor can do (hours/week wise) and they can't be expected to miss school for it. The minor needs to have parental permission and they shouldn't be paid any less for doing that work than an equally qualified adult.

      If those rules are obeyed, what's the problem?

  5. Ruairi Newman 1

    I'd like to see their criteria broadened to "human rights abuses" and not just focusing on the highly emotive "child labour" category of human rights abuse. Yes, it would make it very hard to do business with Chinese companies, but companies like Samsung, Apple et al have a big part to play in this arena.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Um....what?

      What the fucking fnord are you talking about? How does "broadening this to human rights abuses" make it "difficult" to deal with Chinese companies? That sounds like some straight up bullshit sinophobia.

      Human rights abuses are not "common" in China...or, at least, they are no more common than in the US. Go work an Amazon warehouse, or pick veggies in the fields of a southern state.

      There are going to be some companies in China that violate human rights, just as there will be in any country. It absolutely is not common practice, despite what you may have heard in the yankee media.

  6. Richard Jones 1

    Word Play

    If a supplier employs others in a way that does not conform to the contract you have with that party there is a clear breach of contract and trust. I do not know the terms of the contracts in China but if the local labour laws are being broken that does strike me as unlikely to be supported by the contract. If the entity contracting with the supplier feels the need to verify that laws and employment terms are not as they stipulated in the contract there is an obvious lack of trust.

    If I cannot trust a supplier on one item could I trust them on anything else? Frankly no wonder Samsung are questioning whether they should use the company in question.

    Playing about with the semantics of their statement might be a sarcastic way to show your beliefs, but I suspect that Samsung wanted to convey a belief that breaching the labour laws was unacceptable. By attempting to define the breach of trust they said too much they should have omitted anything after the fact that illegal practices are not supported, good bye.

    I am not aware of Chinese contract law but in the UK indulging in illegal practices and bringing a purchaser into disrepute would likely raise serious legal doubts about whether the contract still existed. Most purchasers would have strong grounds for walking away from the contract as Samsung have threatened to do. Now I shall 'watch this space'.

  7. adam payne Silver badge

    "Samsung has conducted three audits of Dongguan Shinyang since 2013 and said it had found no cases of child labour."

    What type of audits were they?

    Were they announced audits?

    If companies such as Samsung and Apple are so bothered by this why don't they have surprise audits? or undercover workers?

    These big companies only seem to care when things start making headlines.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Surprise audits

      Even a surprise audit isn't that big of a surprise if the people have to come to the main entrance and wait for someone to escort them. Plenty of time for the children to be hustled out the back door or hidden in a disused cafeteria.

      The only way to truly know would be an undercover audit - have some people working for the company or third party auditor getting jobs in the factory and keeping their eyes open.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Surprise audits

        > Even a surprise audit isn't that big of a surprise if the people have to come to the main entrance and wait for someone to escort them.

        Exactly - hence emails circulating like "The fire service are in the building, please ensure all smoke stop doors are closed and hallways are not obstructed"

        Common occurance in UK companies.

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