It looks like every big tech company somehow finds themselves in the middle of labor exploits. Like Apple's Foxconn woes, Laptop Mag reports that a Chinese labor watchdog is saying that the inner workings of HEG Electronics involve a dangerous workplace.
China Labor Watch says it was "stunned" by its contact with child workers and the findings of its investigators:
Our research indicates that student laborers amount to 80% of the total workforce in the factory. During our follow up investigations, our investigators suspected that there were a large number of child laborers in other departments of the factory, estimating that there may be 50 to 100 children working there. These children were working under same harsh conditions as adult workers, but were paid only 70% of the wages when compared with the formal employees. Moreover, these child workers were often required to carry-out dangerous tasks that resulted in injury.
Many of the children were drafted from high schools for "summer employment" during high demand production phases—a common practice at Foxconn, too.
Among the child workers listed above, we interviewed Wu Xiaofang (alias) in particular. She is 14 years old. (Given that she does not have an official ID, we confirmed her age with her.) She told us about her problems at HEG recently. During March and April 2012, she accidentally fell on the stairs on her way from the dormitory to the factory floor, unable to work afterwards. However, the company not only refused to take her to the hospital for treatment but also rejected her request for sick leave. It also deducted 6 days from her wages on the pretext of her sick leave. Similar things happened in late May. At that time, Wu was late because of the illness and asked for leave, but the manager did not approve. She was too sick to work and went back to rest in the dormitory, while the company deducted 3 days from her wages for absenteeism. What was worse, Wu was fired for no reason in late June and expelled in July.
The management are abusive during work, sometimes hitting workers on the factory floor. Any carelessness, such as slow movements, misoperation, or late completion of team leaders' orders could provoke the shouting of team leaders at anytime. Everyday, employees in the workshops were punished by standing all day long, writing self-criticism, or getting fined.
Laptop Mag says Samsung confirmed it will "conduct another field survey at the earliest possible time" to check for labor violations. Read the report below in its entirety. [Laptop Mag]