Over the past two years, Samsung has achieved its goal of rivaling Apple in the smartphone space. According to the latest ComScore numbers, Samsung now sells a full quarter of the mobile handsets sold in the U.S. Samsung is now learning, though, that being an industry leader comes with increased scrutiny and oversight from watchdog organizations.
One month ago China Labor Watch, a watchdog organization that defends the rights of Chinese workers, issued a report on one Samsung manufacturing facility in Huizhou, China. It reported claims of children under the age of 16 working at the facility. Samsung responded quickly to the report and followed up with a factory inspection and some changes to labor practices.
This week, China Labor Watch has issued another report, this one concerning eight different Samsung factories, six of which are owned and operated by Samsung directly. The report details claims that workers in the factories are forced to work overtime, stand for 11 to 12 hours, and are working in unsafe conditions. There are also new claims of underage workers.
A Samsung spokesperson acknowledged these claims, though he only addressed the overtime issue, saying that it is related to new product assembly lines and tight manufacturing deadlines. He stated that Samsung will be re-evaluating its working hour practices. Samsung will be conducting on-site inspections of its factories and suppliers, and said it would terminate the contract of any supplier found to have labor violations.