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Samsung Supplier Audit Finds Illegal Practices at Chinese Factories

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Samsung has released the results of an audit of labor practices at 105 of its suppliers in China. The company says it did not find any underage workers, an allegation made by China Labor Watch, but it did uncover other violations, including excessive overtime and fines for employee tardiness.

CNET's Don Reisinger reported, "According to the company, the Samsung audit team was comprised of 121 employees tasked with ensuring that the company's suppliers were compliant with local laws and its own regulations. The company's auditors found no instances of child labor -- a major concern of watchdogs -- but did discover instances where rules and regulations were violated. 'The audit identified several instances of inadequate practices at the facilities, including overtime hours in excess of local regulations, management of supplier companies holding copies of labor contracts, and the imposition of a system of fines for lateness or absences,' Samsung said today in a statement."

The Guardian's Charles Arthur noted, "The audit of 65,000 employees follows accusations by China Labor Watch, an independent labour rights group based in New York, which alleged in August that Samsung suppliers hired children and used 'inhumane' working conditions, and in September that there was illegal discrimination in hiring polices at some Samsung suppliers. However, Samsung said it has found no evidence of child labourers, having carried out face-to-face checks on all staff aged under 18."

The AFP quoted Samsung, which said in a statement, "We have identified the need for initiatives to reduce employee overtime as a top priority, and we are researching and developing measures that will eliminate hours beyond legal limits by the end of 2014."

On the same day, Samsung also revealed sales figures for its Galaxy Note II smartphone. According to InformationWeek's Eric Zeman, "Samsung announced Monday that it has shipped more than five million Galaxy Note II smartphones. The news comes just two months after the device's release, and handily surpasses the original Note at reaching the same milestone."

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