China supplier of Samsung, Lenovo denies using child workers

Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:35am EDT
 
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BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) - A China-based supplier for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Lenovo Group Ltd said on Thursday it had never hired child laborers, denying allegations by a U.S.-based activist group.

Samsung Electronics also said it had found no children or students working on the Samsung production line at the Huizhou-based factory of supplier HEG Technology, which was cited as violating China's labor laws by the New York-based watchdog China Labor Watch.

A Lenovo spokeswoman said the company would look into the report.

In a statement, China Labor Watch said it had found more than 10 children working at the HEG factory during an investigation that took place in July and August. It also said the probe had found over 100 student workers who were not being paid overtime wages or a night shift subsidy.

The watchdog said it had shared the evidence with Samsung last week and that Samsung demanded the supplier pay some students' wages. It did not say whether Samsung took any action on the matter of child labor or whether it had reached out to Lenovo with the information.

An employee surnamed Zeng at HEG Technology's human resources department told Reuters the company had never hired children, and that it had facial recognition systems in place to ensure workers were not underage.

For Samsung products, HEG employs workers aged 18 and over while the minimum age for workers on Lenovo's product lines is 16 years, she said. The company relies on an outsourcing company to hire students, she added.

In its statement, Samsung said it had proposed to China Labor Watch that they conduct a joint onsite investigation "for more precise verification" of the allegations.

Samsung also said it had informed the watchdog about the results of its own investigation, adding: "We find it regrettable that CLW issued the allegations today without any mention of our statement."   Continued...

 
The company logo is displayed at the Samsung news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 7, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking