Response to FLA’s progress report on Apple

FLA just released a status report of the improvement at three factories of Foxconn. This report is detailed and comprehensive, with full access and resources in the investigation. However, China Labor Watch holds three concerns in response to the report:

  1. In that report, FLA successfully shifted the responsibility for Apple by blaming Foxconn for the previous unsatisfying working conditions in those factories.  In fact, Apple has the responsibility and resource to improve the labor conditions of workers.
  2. The harsh working conditions are by no means isolated to just Foxconn but exist throughout Apple’s supply chain. However, that report only focused on Foxconn factories. It is Apple’s entire supply chain system that should be responsible for the squeezing of workers.
  3. Although the working hours at Foxconn have been reduced to less than 60 hours per week, the intensity of the hourly work has been increased. According to our follow-up investigation, the workers have to complete the workload of 66 hours before within 60 hours now per week. As a result, the workers get lower wages but have to work much harder and they are not satisfied with the current situation.

Our report on ten of Apple’s supplier factories could be found here: http://www.chinalaborwatch.org/pro/proshow-176.html. It is our hope that Apple can take practical action and raise the standards of conditions at its supplier factories.

 

About China Labor Watch:

Founded in 2000, China Labor Watch is an independent not-for-profit organization. In the past ten years, CLW has collaborated with labor organizations and the media to conduct a series of in-depth assessments of factories in China that produce toys, bikes, shoes, furniture, clothing, and electronics for some of the largest companies. CLW’s New York office creates reports from these investigations, educates the international community on supply chain labor issues, and pressures corporations to improve conditions for workers.

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Paystub from a child labor-Wu Xiaofang from HEG (Huizhou) Electronics Co., Ltd

This is the paystub for the female child worker from HEG (Huizhou) Electronics Co., Ltd. we interviewed for this investigation— Wu Xiaofang (This is an alias as well as the name she used on her fake ID in order to get into the factory to work). She told our investigator that she was 14 years old. This paystub and its wealth of information is strong evidence in support of our report’s conclusions. According to the listed hours, salary, and overtime pay shown above, we calculated that her approximate overtime was between 70 and 84 hours in this month. The daily subsidy for night shifts is 7 RMB ($1.09), and she received a total of 77 RMB in subsidies for her night shifts in this month. So it can be easily concluded that she worked 11 night shifts during this month, each shift lasting from 8pm to 8am. This paystub clearly shows how the factory was treating this 14-year-old girl. In its statement, the factory alleged that Xiaofang made up a story about her terrible working conditions out of revenge for her dismissal by the factory.

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joint statement

Hi, everybody, here is the joint statement released by total 19 Korean organizations about this case (Samsung). Because they do not believe that Samsung will develope the labor conditions in Chinese area. They also are waiting the futher action of Samsung. Whether Samsung will show good plan or not, they should monitor the Samsung’s policy.

The following is the formal content of the joint statement:

<Joint Statement>

Samsung should apologize for child labor and improve the poor labor condition at China supplier!

 

On 7th August, China Labor Watch which has been monitoring labor condition in China recently presented the report which states child labor and human rights violation at China supplier of Samsung, HEG Electronic. The situation of China factory is shocking. The employees work 66-hour a week and receive a wage of 200 thousand won at the factory where they put the logo of Samsung which is a Leading corporate in the world. Also, employees work in the poor labor condition without safety education and measures even though they use chemical agents. Moreover, the investigators of China Labor Watch had identified seven children working who are under the age of 16 and exposed students of vocational school working in the harsh condition as the nominal of internship. China Labor Watch had reported poor facilities and physical violence by managers.

It is well known that employees work in the poor labor condition in China which is called as a world factory although it may not be a case of Samsung supplier. However, child labor is a different case of human rights violation. For example, a 14 years old girl testified that she accidentally fell on the stairs on her way from the dormitory to the factory floor, unable to work afterwards. However, the company not only rejected her request for sick leave but also deducted 6 days from her wages on the pretext of her sick leave. Also, they fired her in July. Moreover, even though the company has made young students work under same harsh conditions as adult workers do, the company does not pay them properly. This situation indicates the substance of Samsung which is the officially sponsor of London Olympic where only 11 enterprises enjoy the honors.

Samsung explains that they have assigned Intertek to monitor the labor condition. However, we have no choice but to ask Samsung that whether the second field investigation through Intertek is a proper investigation. How come the obvious child labor could not be revealed if the investigation is not an alibi which shows Samsung has been monitoring the supplier? Samsung posts a notice on the Internet board that they call agencies to corporate social responsibility such as child labor. However, it was small wonder because Samsung have denied that 56 employees died suffering from an occupational disease in their factory. How can Samsung say with confidence that they have a will to properly monitor the labor condition of China supplier? Also, Samsung has excused that the poor labor condition is not only a Samsung’s problem. According to the standard of EICC where Samsung has joined that from 2007, Samsung’s agency should comply with the prohibition of child labor, compliance with regulation when they hire an apprentice, prohibition of dangerous work to under age of 18, and prohibition of work 60-hour a week. The voluntary join of international standard such as EICC means the promise that they have to comply with the standard in everywhere. Samsung deserves some of the blame as well because they have failed to keep the promise.

Apple has improved the labor condition of China supplier after 18 employees committed a suicide at Foxconn. It is not because that Apple is a good enterprise but they yielded under pressure that international community do not purchase the product which made with death and sacrifice. If Samsung has put energy only into promotion of Olympic and looked on with indifference to labor condition at China supplier, it means that they acknowledge themselves to be a most vicious enterpriser in the world. The place where the president Lee Gun-hee’s family must go is not London but the Huizhou factory where children are working 11 hours a day in the scorching heat.

 

We request the following:

Firstly, Samsung should apologize for child labor and human rights violations which revealed by this report.

Secondly, Samsung should investigate themselves labor condition in all of suppliers, not assign Intertek to monitor them and improve labor condition to comply with the standard of EICC.

Lastly, Samsung should stop the suppression of labor union in order for the employees to work as human beings, should improve safety measures and acknowledge the responsibility of occupational disease.

  1. Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL)
  2. Banolim (Supporters for Health and Rights of Semiconductor Laborers)
  3. Citizens’ Movement for Environmental Justice
  4. Corporate For All
  5. Dasan Human Right Center
  6. Democratic Legal Studies Association
  7. Energy & Climate Policy Institute, Center for Energy Politics
  8. GONG-GAM, Korean Public Interest Lawyers’ Group
  9. Korean Confederation of Trade Union
  10. Korean House for International Solidarity
  11. Korean Lawyers for Public Interest and Human Rights (KLPH)
  12. National Association of Professors for Democratic Socitety
  13. Network for Glocal Action
  14. People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
  15. People’s Solidarity for Social Progress
  16. Samsung General Labor Union
  17. Seoul Human Rights Film Festival
  18. Solidarity Against Disability Discrimination (SADD)
  19. Solidarity For Peace & Human Rights

Contact Person:

Mr. Hyun Phil Na

Deputy Executive Director

Korean House for International Solidarity

Khis21@hanmail.net

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Media Release in response to official statement

The city of Huizhou just released a statement saying that HEG Electronics was not found to have employed child laborers, imposed excessive work hours or to have withheld workers’wages. However, the situation the official statement described is not consistent with the facts.

1. As far as we know, the official investigators didn’t interview the relevant workers, they judged the workers’ ages only by their identification card. According to our investigation, these child laborers are either using falsified identification card or using the IDs of others.

2. The official statement also stated that the company did not forcefully impose excessive work hours nor withheld workers’ wages. This is contrary to our investigation findings. We found that the workers are often required to stand and work for 11 hours a day.

Our investigators told us that the factory is driving off thechild laborers, as a lot of young workers are leaving the factory.

The government investigation statement further proves that one of the reason the factories could illegal employ workers is that they are protected by the local government.

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HuiZhou Officials denied that HEG electronics use child labor

HuiZhou Officials denied that HEG electronics use child labor and
has excessive working hours. We don’t believe their statement as it is contrary to our investigation findings.

However,   from the picture they released, you can see that workers are standing while they work, as we had talk about in our report. Often time, they are required to stand for more than 11 hours in the small working area. Walking around is  restricted.  Imagine how it is like to stand in a small working table for 10 hours a day with your movement strictly under restriction. Not to mention that most of these workers are underaged, some of them are child laborers. http://www.china.org.cn/china/2012-08/10/content_26189051.htm

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From LG

We have received an e-mail from LG, it said that LG Electronics does not have nor has it ever had any business dealings with HEG Electronics facility in China. They have made a request to HEG that LG’s name be removed from their website and will take legal action if necessary to protect LG’s reputation. Now you cannot link to HEG Electronisc  pages of “Company Profile” and “About Us” on their offical website.

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Media Release on Samsung Investigation

Spotted-According to the fourth group of our organization investigators, the HEG (Huizhou) Factory has just driven off a coach of suspected underage workers. In order to avoid their whereabouts being discovered, the coach carried these labors turning around the peripheral factory. Unfortunately, our investigators have exposed their identities, so the factory has sent out security guards to keep watch on them wherever they go. However, because these two investigators are women, we hope the factory could protect their personal safety.

We think Samsung should authentically carry out in-depth interviews and thorough investigations to confirm this child labor event and then stop the child labor employment. We’d love to offer assistance to Samsung in this investigation if they couldn’t check out the relevant evidence.

PS: The investigators of our organization are safe by now, they are just under observation by the four security guards.

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Media Release in Response to Samsung’s Investigation

August 8,2012 (New York)
China Labor Watch

After China Labor Watch released the report, Samsung announces its plan to inspect HEG (Huizhou) factory today. We see a quick reaction from the brand company, and hope they will carry out the investigation thoroughly to stop the child labor employment. Here are our concerns for the inspection:

1. The factory will deny the fact and evacuate those child workers. Samsung may need to carry out in-depth interviews and thorough investigations, such as examining the number of the working positions in the factory to see if there is a sudden shortage of workers.

2. As for the seven child workers we identified in the report, the factory replied that there were only 3 to 4 workers on-site now and they are all above 16 years old. However, according to our source of information, at least 5 out of those 7 children are still working there.

3. Samsung inspectors may need to make sure the workers are not showing falsified IDs during the inspection. We know all the workers must have IDs, but the authenticity shall be seriously doubted. Samsung should carry out the inspection strictly when checking the IDs in particular. We hope Samsung could provide us with the copies of those 7 children’s IDs, so that CLW could conduct follow-up investigations and make sure those children are free from reprisals from the factory.

4. We suggest that Samsung’s inspectors stand in front of the gate of the factory and pay attention to the workers passing by. They should ask and confirm with those who looks very young for their real ages.

It is our hope that this inspection could be effective and help those children go back to school, away from the exploitation of the factory. We believe that Samsung will discover what we disclosed in the report, if it truly makes efforts to inspect the issue.

 

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Samsung’s Supplier Factory Squeezing Child Labor—Investigation Report on HEG Electronics (Huizhou) Co., Ltd. Samsung Supplier

Samsung’s Supplier Factory Exploiting Child Labor

China Labor Watch

August 6, 2012

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 

(New York) Today, China Labor Watch released an investigative report on Samsung’s supplier HEG Electronics (Huizhou) Co., Ltd. HEG is an important partner of South Korea’s Samsung, processing such products as mobile phones, DVDs, stereo equipment and MP3s for Samsung. China Labor Watch carried out three investigations during the months of June and July 2012, uncovering issues of child labor and student labor exploitation as well as several other problems. A serious light needs to be shined on these issues.

During the first investigation, seven children—all of them are under the age of 16—were found working in the same department as our investigators. This suggests that child labor is a common practice in the factory. The number of underage workers throughout the factory is unknown because our investigators had limited contact with workers in other departments. But the company has clearly violated Chinese labor laws.

Our research indicates that student workers amount to 80% of the factory workforce. Based on follow-up investigations, our investigators suspected that there were a large number of child workers in other departments of the factory, estimating that there may have been 50 to 100 children working in the factory. (In our interviews, the youngest worker was 14 years old.) These children were working under same harsh conditions as adult workers, but were paid only 70% of the wages when compared with the formal employees. Moreover, these child workers were often required to carry-out dangerous tasks that resulted in injury.

Apart from Samsung’s products being processed on the production lines of HEG Electronics, information on their website also shows that it is doing processing work for Motorola and LG[1].

The following are the violations we discovered in this investigation:

  • The factory hires a large number of student and child workers. These children were working under same harsh conditions as adult workers, but were paid only 70% of the wages when compared with the formal employees. The rights of these children and students are not properly protected.
  • There is discrimination based on sex, age, and individuality during the hiring process.
  • Excessive working time. The workers toil 11 hours per day (including 3-5 hours of forced overtime), 6 days per week, 26-28 days per month. Their attendance system is also defective and unfair, negatively influencing the physical and mental health of the student and child workers.
  • Legal problems exist in issues regarding the labor contract, remuneration system, and reward and punishment system of the company. There are extremely strict punishments, and the workers are frequently fined.
  • Night shift workers are only given time to eat one meal during the 11-hour work shift. The normal meal break is 30-40 minutes long.
  • The workers always work under dangerous conditions, and work injuries are common.

For this report, we have chosen to create aliases for the child laborers in order to protect their identities and to prevent possible reprisals from the factory. However, some of their information was disclosed in the report for authenticity purposes. Brand companies could verify workers’ ages by their hiring certificate given upon employment. It is our demand that the relevant brand companies and factories compensate these child workers and help them to get back into school and continue their education.

Based on the results of this CLW investigation of Samsung’s supplier factory, it can be determined that working conditions at HEG are well below those general conditions in Apple’s supplier factories.

The full 31-page report on Samsung’s supplier factory can be found at [Samsung Factory Exploiting Child Labor—Investigative Report on HEG Electronics (Huizhou) Co., Ltd. Samsung Supplier]

About China Labor Watch:

Founded in 2000, China Labor Watch is an independent not-for-profit organization. In the past ten years, CLW has collaborated with labor organizations and the media to conduct a series of in-depth assessments of factories in China that produce toys, bikes, shoes, furniture, clothing, and electronics for some of the largest companies. CLW’s New York office creates reports from these investigations, educates the international community on supply chain labor issues, and pressures corporations to improve conditions for workers.

[1] We have received an e-mail from LG, it said that LG Electronics does not have nor has it ever had any business dealings with HEG Electronics facility in China. They have made a request to HEG that LG’s name be removed from their website and will take legal action if necessary to protect LG’s reputation.

 

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Samsung

This gallery contains 74 photos.

Brand: Samsung Factory: HEG Electronics (Huizhou) Co., Ltd.

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