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Samsung in spotlight over Chinese labour conditions

Workers’ rights group claims factories followed ‘inhumane’ working practices

Samsung in spotlight over Chinese labour conditions
Samsung pledged to act against 'unsafe' factories

A labour watchdog has alleged "illegal and inhumane violations" at Samsung factories in China, including underage workers, excessive overtime and extreme working conditions.

The criticism comes fresh in the wake of Samsung’s $1bn patent infringement battle with Apple Inc.

New York-based China Labour Watch carried out the investigation by posing as workers and conducting interviews outside factories. Some employees had spent up to 12 hours on their feet in a single shift, while others had been forced to work overtime.

Six of the eight factories under scrutiny are owned by Samsung; the other two are suppliers. In all but one of these workplaces, the group found that overtime per worker exceeded 100 hours per month for at least half of the year, while some workers claimed to have been given just one day off per month. In four of the factories the overtime was forced, but in others employees chose to work longer hours to supplement their low wages, which range from $200 to $250 a month.

In August China Labor Watch said it had found seven workers under 16 at a Samsung supplier in the city of Huizhou. On Monday Samsung said it found no evidence of child labour during its own investigation, but did pledge to take action against factories that continued “unsafe working practices”.

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