Samsung Electronics to pass fewer orders to China supplier in child labour response

Tue Aug 5, 2014 7:00am EDT
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By Se Young Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said it will do 30 percent less business with a parts supplier after uncovering employment of child workers at the China-based firm, marking the IT giant's strongest objection to the illegal practice to date.

In July, Samsung Electronics suspended business with Dongguan Shinyang Electronics Co Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kosdaq-listed Shinyang Engineering Co Ltd, after U.S.-based China Labor Watch said it found at least five child workers without contracts at the Guangdong province-based supplier.

Samsung said Chinese authorities found that while Dongguan Shinyang did not directly employ child workers, a subcontractor had hired them through a labour dispatch agency.

"Samsung has decided to still take measures against Dongguan Shinyang to hold the supplier responsible for failing to monitor its subcontractors, in accordance with Samsung's zero tolerance policy on child labour," the maker of the popular Galaxy smartphone said on Tuesday.

The move to penalise the China-based maker of mobile phone covers and parts comes amid growing pressure on Samsung Electronics to ensure that its Chinese suppliers adhere to local labour laws.

In 2012, the same activist group said seven children younger than 16 were working for one of the South Korean firm's China-based suppliers. Chinese law forbids hiring workers under 16.

The use of child labour isn't rare in China. Other multinational tech companies including Apple Inc have been plagued by revelations of exploitation.

Underage workers have previously been discovered at Foxconn, the supplier for some of the world's biggest tech brands. Foxconn is the trading name of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry.   Continued...

Customers attend a workshop about the Samsung Galaxy S5 in Jakarta, April 11, 2014.  REUTERS/Beawiharta