updated 01:18 pm EDT, Mon July 14, 2014
Dongguan Shinyang Electronics investigation causes company to temporarily halt business
Samsung announced today that it has suspended business with Dongguan Shinyang Electronics after an investigation into child labor practices. Samsung launched an investigation after a July 10 accusation by watchdog group China Labor Watch that it found evidence of child labor at the factory, which supplies Samsung.
"Following the investigation, Samsung decided to temporarily suspend business with the factory in question as it found evidence of suspected child labor at the worksite," says Samsung. "The decision was made in accordance with Samsung's zero-tolerance policy on child labor," the company said.
The accusation came after a June 30 sustainability report from Samsung that found no instances of child labor. Samsung reiterated that it takes a hard line against underage labor, especially when it comes to the protocols and procedures that must be in place at many Chinese suppliers. The company says it requires ID scanners to verify age, in-person interviews when hiring staff to prevent using the identity of others, and a provision to allow the company to conduct in-person inspections of those working at its 138 Chinese suppliers.
As it turns out, Samsung says it conducted only three audits since 2013 of Dongguan Shinyang Electronics, with the most recent one concluding on June 25. At the time of all three audits, Samsung claims there was no signs of child labor violations.
In an unlinked investigation that came about after the China Labor Watch findings, Samsung found evidence that illegal hiring took place not long after the conclusion of its audit. While the electronics company does state what sort of illegal hiring took place on June 29, it does mention that the Chinese authorities are looking into it.
Due to the findings, Samsung says that it will strengthen the hiring process at its production facilities and at its suppliers. Samsung says that it's unfortunate that the allegation came about after all the precautionary steps it takes to prevent illegal child labor, but didn't explain how a "zero-tolerance" policy would allow a supplier to be suspended only temporarily over such an incident.