Samsung temporarily suspended business with one of its suppliers in China over the suspected use of child workers, following criticism that its monitoring of illegal labor practices was ineffective.
The South Korean electronics giant launched an investigation into the Dongguan Shinyang Electronics Co. after the rights monitoring group China Labor Watch (CLW) reported the factory was employing workers under the age of 16.
Samsung said the Chinese authorities were also looking into the case, and added that if it was proved the factory hired children illegally the business suspension would become permanent.
The company stressed that it maintained a “zero-tolerance” policy on child labor and conducted regular inspections of its suppliers to ensure its implementation.
In its report, the New York-based watchdog had cited other violations at the same factory, including unpaid overtime wages, excessive overtime and a lack of social insurance and training.
Samsung said it had audited Dongguan Shinyang Electronics three times since 2013, including an inspection last month.
The executive director of China Labor Watch, Li Qiang, challenged Samsung’s commitment, saying its monitoring system was ineffective.
Samsung has put its energy into audits and the production of these reports, but these things are meant to appease investors and do not have any real value for workers,” he added.
The world’s largest maker of mobile phones and flat-screen TVs has more than 200 suppliers in China and there have been repeated allegation over working practices in recent years.