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Samsung faces Brazilian rap: Factory bods work '15hrs without break'

Staff stand all day without rest, officials claim in $110m sueball

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Samsung is being sued for about $110m by the Brazilian government for allegedly forcing employees to work long shifts on its assembly lines without a break.

It is claimed the South Korean giant's factory in Manaus, a city in the north of the South American nation, puts workers' health at risk by making them to do repetitive tasks at an intense pace, often while standing all day - allegedly in breach of Brazil's laws.

Inspectors from the state of Amazonas' ministry of labour apparently discovered that some of the 6,000 staff at the firm's largest factory - which is responsible for supplying all of Latin America - were working non-stop 15 hour days. During three checks in May 2011, the ministry also said it had discovered one bod who had been at work for 27 days without a break.

As well as filing a lawsuit for damages, the ministry wants to enforce ten-minute breaks for every 50 minutes of strenuous activities and to provide chairs for assembly line staff.

Samsung said that it had yet to receive the legal grumble from the labour ministry.

"Once we receive the complaint in question, we will conduct a thorough review and fully cooperate with the Brazilian authorities," the company said in an emailed statement. "We take great care to provide a workplace environment that assures the highest industry standards of health, safety, and welfare for our employees across the world."

Samsung, like its main rival Apple, has been accused of not tackling poor working practices in its factories. China Labour Watch has previously said workers assembling Sammy products in China were working 16 hour days with only one day off a month. ®

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