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Samsung: Demand for mobes forced 16hr days on factory slaves

South Koreans vow to end 'excessive overtime' in supply chain

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Samsung has promised again that it's going to fix the problems at its Chinese suppliers, after it admitted poor conditions for employees following an investigation.

It has committed to improving conditions for its manufacturing partners' workers but added that "local [Chinese] laws" meant that most workers in the region had a similarly nightmarish work situation.

The head of the team of auditors that inspected the firm's 105 suppliers in China told Reuters that Samsung was working to fix the problems that were uncovered.

"There was common use of a system of penalties for being late or producing faulty products, which is improper practice under global standards but somewhat general practice under local regulations," said Mok Jangkyun.

"We're working with them to change these practices and introduce a better work environment."

The investigation was kicked off when American NGO China Labor Watch reported that employees in the factories sometimes worked up to 16 hours a day, with only one day off all month.

"There were indeed some cases of excessive overtime work. When workers have to work weekends, for example, due to a temporary spike in orders, overtime work reached 32 hours a week or 100 hours a month," Mok admitted.

"We've recommended they hire more workers, introduce automation and improve production processes to fix this. We are also working on guidelines to gradually reduce overtime work hours."

Like other electronics firms, Samsung has a large portion of its goods made in China, where a number of companies have been accused of taking advantage of the cheaper workforce.

The South Korean firm owns a number of plants in the country, but outsourcing accounts for a small portion of its total production. Nearly half of Samsung's goods, including its Galaxy S phones and other electronics, are made in China.

"Multinationals are increasingly opting for outsourcing for various reasons. But at Samsung, out of over 200,000 staff worldwide, more than half are manufacturing jobs, which indicates we are very much a manufacturing-driven company and it is where our core strength is," Mok said.

"Samsung manufactures more than 90 per cent of our products internally and only relies on contractors for peripheral products such as components, feature phones and handset cases." ®

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