An independent study commissioned by Samsung found that working conditions at suppliers in China are pretty horrendous—they’ve been that way for awhile now. The sustainability report shows that many issues still persist; 100 suppliers were investigated, and 59 failed. That’s a pretty high failure rate, especially when you consider that these issues aren’t exactly new. These are problems that have been on record before.
Rules and regulations at these plants seem to be disregarded completely. Safety equipment, such as ear plugs and protective goggles, are not being provided in some cases and, when it is, supervisors aren’t ensuring employees are actually using the equipment. But that’s not even the half of it, according to the report. There are bigger issues at stake, including low wages and benefits, and lack of emergency preparedness.
Back in 2012, Samsung said it was committed to addressing unfair labor conditions at Chinese suppliers, but it appears things are worse than ever. In addition to lack of safety and wage disputes, the audit also found that these Chinese suppliers aren’t complying with China’s legally permitted overtime hours. Samsung, for its part, said it is committed to fixing the problems, and will call on suppliers to take “corrective actions.”
Over the past year, Samsung has reportedly rectified 1,934 work-hazard issues, and has deployed 2,000 inspectors that oversee work operations. While issues still remain, the audit found no instances of child labor, so progress is certainly being made. However, at the rate Samsung churns out products—not just in the mobile space—the company needs to get the suppliers in line, otherwise this is something that won’t ever be fixed.