China Samsung Supplier Sues American Labor Informant Group Over Child Labor Allegations

Image via Flickr by Robert Scoble

According to Al Jazeera, “A Chinese supplier of Samsung Electronics has filed a lawsuit accusing a New York-based labor watchdog of spreading false rumors of child labor, but the group says it has evidence to support its report. Samsung said on Thursday the lawsuit against China Labor Watch was filed in a Chinese court this week by HEG Electronics, which produces mobile phone components. China Labor Watch had accused the company in Guangdong province in southern China of hiring more than 10 child workers.”Samsung, like many technology companies, is known to use third-party suppliers and manufacturers located in China.

China Labor Watch’s allegations stem specifically from the electronics manufacturer’s questionable hiring of teenage laborers. HEG testifies that its employment of younger factory workers, some of whom were temporary, did not, however, violate Chinese labor laws.

The Wall Street Journal reports, “HEG Human Resources Director Chen Cheng said that the company received about 200 students from a vocational school in the southwestern city of Chengdu in May who worked for 3½ months at the Huizhou facility but that HEG found they were all at least 16 years old.”

This isn’t the first time Samsung’s Chinese plant operators have been accused of poor labor practices. China Labor Watch has had its eye on the company since 2012. During this period, the group was able to confirm real cases of child labor.

However, ABC News notes, “The South Korean company began reporting annually to its investors the state of labor conditions at its Chinese suppliers. But this is the first time that a legal action was taken against by a Samsung supplier in response to an allegation of child labor.”

Despite the reversal, it is unlikely that the lawsuit will carry any weight. HEG has waged its court claim in China; China Labor Watch is an American organization.

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