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Samsung vows to improve labor conditions

By Liang Fei  (Global Times)

14:09, November 29, 2012

Samsung said it will continue to monitor working conditions at its factories. (Photo/Xinhua)

South Korean electronics maker Samsung said that it is implementing corrective measures, including new hiring policies and new work-hour and overtime practices, to "address every violation that was identified," according to a statement e-mailed to the Global Times Wednesday.

The company has been accused of various labor violations in China by New York-based rights group China Labor Watch (CLW), which has released two reports on the matter since September this year.

In a CLW investigation into eight Samsung factories and suppliers in September, multiple labor violations were revealed, including "forced and excessive overtime, forced work without pay...and severe discrimination based on age and gender," said CLW.

Also, the use of child labor has been discovered in Samsung's contracted factories, according to CLW.

Samsung admitted some improper practices such as overtime hours in excess of local regulations, and the imposition of a system of fines for lateness or absences.

However, the company said it had not identified "any instance of child labor during the audits… and Samsung has a zero tolerance policy on child labor violations," the company said in the statement.

"The problem is that most Chinese workers do not know that they have the right to say no to forced overtime work, and sometimes they are willing to work overtime as long as they get paid," Zhao Wei, deputy director of the China Labor Studies Center at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times Wednesday.

Zhao noted that labor violations such as excessive overtime are very common in some small factories in China, and workers should be better-educated about their rights.

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