Samsung publishes first audit of working conditions at Chinese factories: high turnover, no huge violations
posted by Victor H. / Sep 03, 2012, 8:00 AM
Apple’s Foxconn manufacturing plants might have brought overseas working conditions into focus after a few Chinese workers committed suicide jumping from the buildings under the stress of long work hours, but working conditions are a problem not only in Apple’s suppliers. Now, after reports of poor working conditions in its Chinese plants, Samsung has finished the first big audit of its HEG Electronics facility in Huizhou, China and it reveals some interesting facts, but no illegal practices.
In August 2012, a report by China Labor Watch raised concern about the factory’s condition, and in a three week period from August 9th to August 30th, Samsung audited the HEG plant.
Interestingly, it turns out that the turnover rate at the HEG facility is huge, nearly 30% per month. This actually made it hard to have conclusive results from the audit as the workforce just changed so quickly.
Samsung’s investigators did not find any underage workers on site, but there were 520 students aged between 16 and 18. That’s nearly 19% of HEG’s total workforce, but it’s not illegal - in that particular Chinese province student workers below 18 can compose up to 30% of the company’s staff.
The average salary for HEG employees was $275 (1740 yuan), more than the minimum 950 yuan for Huizhou China province.
So overall, Samsung will take measures against overtime that was sometimes more than the allowed 9 hours a week and also provide access to a medical clinic, right now missing for the workers.
Samsung conducted an audit of HEG’s facilities to identify the presence of workers under the age of 16 through 1:1 interviews but was unable to confirm the existence of workers under 16 years old.
Although the Samsung inspectors did not identify any underage workers while they were on site, there are currently student workers or interns under the age of 18 years old on site, comprising approximately 19% , or 520 people, of HEG’s workface. In Guangdong Province, where the HEG facility is located, student workers can legally comprise up to 30% of the total workforce.
► Samsung informed HEG that the use of child labor is strictly prohibited and Samsung will immediately terminate its contract with HEG if any instances of child labor are discovered.
A system of penalties and rewards for lateness and absence, which had been banned in China in 2008, was identified to be in operation.
► Samsung demanded HEG abolish inappropriate and unlawful HR policies.
HEG’s preferential employment policies toward female workers, between the ages of 16 years old to 30 years old, on its mobile phone assembly line are permitted under Chinese law.
The average hourly rate paid to student workers is 10 Yuan per hour, equivalent to around 1,740 Yuan per month. The minimum wage in Huizhou, China is 950 Yuan per month.
The mobile phone assembly line has a low accident rate.
Only a simple medical examination was conducted when employees entered the company, rather than the mandated annual checkup. Access to first aid material and a medical clinic was inadequate and did not meet local regulations.
► Samsung demanded the establishment of an on-site medical clinic and adequate first aid provisions be provided.
It was confirmed that many HEG employees were found to be exceeding the legal limit of overtime, of nine hours per week or 36 hours per month, and some employees were working for 26 to 28 days per month.
► Samsung demanded that HEG create compliance plans and systems for observance of court-dictated over time regulations be put in place.
HEG provides two meals per day free of charge for all employees. For the third daily meal, 5 Yuan per day is deducted from their income. Three meals per day are provided free of charge to student workers.
During the night shift (20:00 to 08:00) a one hour meal break was offered at 01:00. But when employees worked overtime, there was insufficient time for breakfast.
► Samsung demanded HEG resolve the issue over meal deductions for meals not taken through the issuance of meal coupons for greater flexibility in meal times.
The dormitory, compared to other companies in the region, has good facilities.
Let me guess:there was nothing more to the story when Apple didn't find anything majorly wrong at Foxconn, right?
Just like how Japan is magically home court advantage for Samsung (because all Azns are indistinguishable and have each others' backs) but the US isn't for Apple, right?
Oh, and when Apple sues everyone else in the market, they're just protecting their innovations, but how dare Motorola, Google, or Samsung sue them, right?
I don't think the article is about Apple.
It's ASIANS. Not Azn. I never said they had each others backs. It isnt that difficult to believe that they showed preference to Samsung over Apple.
Motorola has been trying to sue for generic patents that are used by everyone. How can they sue and turn around and say suing through litigation is hurting innovation?
My commentary is about your hypocrisy.
Motorola has been suing over patents everyone else is already paying for. Everyone except Apple.
Why is it not difficult to imagine a bias in a Japanese court in favor of a Korean company? You have no reason other than both parties being Azn. You have no proof, no evidence, nothing but your own f**king bias.
You call me bias? You favor Motorola, an OEM known for leaving their customers in the dust like refusing to unlock the bootloaders they promised to unlike last year and not updating some of their phones to ICS even if they are able to. You dare call me bias?
Motorola suing for generic patents that are fair and reasonable contradicts what Google said before.
For the last time....the F in FRAND...does not stand for...free....2.25% is unreasonable...yet 6% to Apple is? For round corners and icons?
Bootloaders effect what % of smart phone buyers?
Motorola isnt the only Android OEM slower with updates. I take it you didnt see the article about HTC explaining why they havent updated some phones to ICS yet. At the same time....Motorola has updated the RAZR and Droid 4 to ICS, the RAZR a few months ago...while some HTC phones havent got it yet.
I didn't say the stood for Free. Does it make sense to hold a patent for something generic? This isn't the pharmaceutical industry where the real patent abuse is at.
HTC has been better with updates than Motorola have been. Motorola refused to update the Droid x2 and the Droid 3. Both devices are capable of handling ICS. To pour salt on the wound look at how many Droid Razrs they have released in close proximity of each other.
Mxy, the difference between your bias and mine is that I don't let my bias go so far that I make s**t up to justify it.
You offer no evidence of a pro Korea bias in the recent Samsung case, you have no evidence that ICS wouldn't be too much work to be worth it for phones that didn't sell well and weren't meant to be high end to begin with, you ignore the carrier's role in that decision and in the bootloader unlock decision (because, fyi, my Atrix has an unlocked bootloader) and you make up your own definition of FRAND just so you can be mad at Motorola for suing using those patents, as well as insisting that Motorola continues to sue over FRAND patents when they aren't.
You can support whoever you want. I don't care about that. Just stop making s**t up.
No, there is no difference. Bias is bias when you look up its meaning. What I dont understand is what makes you so different when you show much preference towards Motorola?
The definition of a FRAND patent is fair and reasonable. I haven't made anything up. You keep ignoring that it goes against Googles stance yet they are doing it anyways.
I'm aware of carriers role in asking for bootloaders to be locked. That doesn't change anything that Motorola promised to unlock them.
As for the case regarding Samsung winning in Japan how can it not be some form of pro bias going on?
I'm not making s**t up at all.
I'm different because, once again, I don't have to live in a fantasy world to justify my stance.
Once again you simply restate your bulls**t ideas without any supporting evidence or new arguments. You're a bad joke, Mxy.
Yes, there is such thing as legitimate bias. There is such a thing as having a justifiable preference. For instance, if you simply preferred Apple's products because they do what you need them to do and you like the way they work versus any other products, I would have nothing to say against that, nor would I want to.
However, when you try to get self righteous about issues where Apple's hands are just as dirty, if not more so, than any other players, I take umbrage.
You call me out about liking Motorola and defending them. You never pay attention to my reasons why though; I like Motorola because I have had four of their phones and all worked very well for me. They proved to be durable, with great signal and competitive (if not superior) battery life. And while their products have their share of cheap crap, their high end devices are generally well designed and their hardware kicks ass. They also do their best to listen to customers.
They are crippled by their dependence on Verizon Wireless, unfortunately, and their leadership has needed several square kicks in the ass.
I'm not happy about the fact that they're being used as a weapon against Apple, but I support it because the only way I see Apple's constant assault on Android being stopped is if someone wins a patent case against them that is so potentially crippling Apple is forced to negotiate a cease fire.
I'd really rather the devices from all companies stand on their own merits rather than being banned because they share characteristics in common.
I mean, if the auto industry can do it, why not cell phones?
So. You could end this tonight if you wanted to. Just stop with this whole "everything Apple does is right and good, everything Google related is tainted by the bowels of Hell's evil" crap and we'll be good. Comprende?
"So. You could end this tonight if you wanted to. Just stop with this whole "everything Apple does is right and good, everything Google related is tainted by the bowels of Hell's evil" crap and we'll be good. Comprende?"
I think you're the only one who's saying that. I didn't say everything Apple does is right and good. I said them protecting their property from Samsung is right. I don't have to use Apple. Unfortunately, I have to use Google if I want to search for anything. There's other search engines out there. They don't have much of a reach as Google does. Google has too much of a control over the search market.
My comments with Apple are no different than your comments with Motorola.
Just to be clear, if anyone thinks koreans and japanese get along really well then you're sadly mistaken. Japan to Koreans is like Germany to the jews. They're still fighting over an island taken over by Japan during the occupation
I'm a jew and live in Germany. They are very nice to us, trying to overcome the horror and hatred of the nationalsocalistic times and second World War.
Has nothing to do with the topic, but still should be said.
Who wants to bet that part of that high turnover was HEG pushing the underage workers out the door and hiring legal ones. Well, true or not, at least Samsung looked into it directly and quickly instead of waiting years and through multiple suicides before giving a crap...cough cough apple.. cough cough.
They also get paid a lot more than their Foxconn counterparts. Last I remember, foxconn just gave them a "huge raise" to like $125 or $150. The ipad workers used to get $60 and an exploding factory to boot.
See, I can agree with something like this. The factory itself may be covering s**t up, but I don't think Samsung itself would set itself up for major scandal by not doing the most thorough job they could. They saw the backlash against Apple, for crying out loud.
exactly. Also, the working conditions at Samsung's direct controlled factories are known to be much better over all than either HEG or Foxconn. Days off, benefits, vacations.. its like.. its not a sweat shop job!
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