Activists have finally turned their attention to a tech company that doesn't have "Apple" in its name, accusing Samsung of exploiting workers, unsafe working conditions, and knowingly employing children to work in the Chinese factories that make its electronic goods.
According to China Labor Watch: "Student Workers and Child Workers During Break Time"
China Labor Watch, which is based in New York City, said that an investigation of eight factories in China found that workers were required to work, "11 hours for 6 days a week and 26 to 28 days per month." Those workers also have to stand for 11 hours per day at assembly lines.
Moreover, they are underpaid, and have to work up to 100 hours of overtime per month, or roughly 25 hours of overtime per week.
Children are allegedly hired using falsified documents, and the the factories investigated reportedly use children from vocational schools as a workaround for age requirements and work contracts. The factories sign contracts with the teachers, rather than the students, to keep everything nice, tidy, and most likely illegal.
"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 group wrote in its report. "Moreover, these child workers were often required to carry-out dangerous tasks that resulted in injury."
Perhaps These Kids Helped Make Those Awesome Samsung Galaxy S3s
These are similar to the allegations that have plagued Apple for the last year as Western watch groups woke up to the realities of why Apple and every other electronics firm have sent all their manufacturing to China. Indeed, China Labor Watch is also critical of Apple's supply chain, and in June the rights group released a report that said "deplorable working conditions characterize in Apple's entire supply chain."
What's new here is that another large company is also being targeted. Working conditions are miserable throughout China's factories—as noted above, that's why so many manufacturing jobs have been moved to that country. Until this report from China Labor Watch, however, the headlines have made it appear as if Apple was the only company with any sort of labor issues.
The extra irony there is that even though there are still labor condition issues for Apple to improve, Apple alone has seemed interested in doing anything about it, and yet was only company being singled out.