Samsung Electronics Co. denied Monday an allegation by a civic group that children under the age of 16 have been employed by its Chinese supplier HEG Electronics Co. after a nearly monthlong inspection.
In early August, New York-based labor rights group China Labor Watch released a 31-page report on the Chinese partner of the South Korean tech giant, saying the Chinese firm employed children aged 16 and under.
In order to verify the allegation by the labor rights group, Samsung has conducted one-on-one inspections of all employees of HEG Electronics since Aug. 8.
"Samsung investigators did not identify any underage workers during the site audit at HEG Electronics in Huizhou, but we identified workers under the age of 18 on site," the company said in an English-language press release.
"These workers are over the age of 16 and are student workers or interns, and their presence is legal," Samsung said.
Samsung, however, found "several instances of inadequate management and potentially unsafe practices," including instances of overtime beyond local regulations, or more than 9 hours per week, the company said.
Samsung said it has "formally notified the company that it must comply with all applicable labor laws and Samsung's labor and employment rights policies," warning that "if HEG fails to meet Samsung's zero tolerance policy on child labor, the contract will be immediately severed."
The South Korean tech giant also plans to conduct inspections on the working conditions of its Chinese partners which total 245 by the end of the year, by sending its 100-member inspection team to the country.
Starting in 2013, Samsung will carry out regular inspections on the working conditions of all of its Chinese partners in conjunction with the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), a coalition of the world's leading electronics companies dedicated to improving efficiency and social, ethical and environmental responsibility in the global supply chain.
"Samsung abides by all labor and human rights law in each region it operates and strictly enforces bans on child labor, forced labor and workplace discrimination," the South Korean company added. (Yonhap News)