This is an awkward turn of events. First, Samsung’s own internal report on their manufacturing practices showed that the company had manufacturing plants that employed children under 18. Then, an independant report showed that Samsung’s report skipped a number of details, and found far more labor violations. Samsung responded by doing the right thing, they halted production at the plant responsible for a majority of the poor conditions and exploitation of minors. It was initally surprising to find Samsung doing the right thing. Unfortunately, their decision didn’t stick. They’re using that plant again.
The factory in question was owned by Dongguan Shinyang Electronics. According to local authorities, the factory was making use of child labor, but they weren’t hiring the children directly. They had used a contracting company to hire their summer workforce, which hired the children. Samsung thought that was enough of an excuse for them to start using the factory again. There’s just one problem, the company approved all of those employees, including the children. Not only that, but Dongguan hasn’t announced plans to change their contracting processes.
Samsung is going to punish Dongguan for using child labor in unsafe conditions, by reducing their orders going to the factory down to 30%. That’s it. Instead of standing up for their “zero tolerance” policy, Samsung showed factories that they can still get their business, as long as they hire children through a subcontractor. They can have those children working in unsafe conditions as well, so long as there’s that subcontractor between the children at the factory and Samsung. That’s the Samsung we know and love (to hate).