The Korean giant said its own investigation had not corroborated the allegations but that it would introduce new rules including more stringent identity checks. In future contracts will be immediately terminated if evidence of child labour is uncovered, it added.
The audit of 105 Chinese suppliers and 65,000 workers did find violations of overtime laws. Samsung said it would allow them two years to “resolve” their practices.
The internal investigation follows a report published in September by China Labor Watch, which said it found abuses at six factories owned and operated by Samsung and two of its suppliers’ facilities. As well as child labour, the alleged violations included forced overtime work amounting to more than 100 hours a month, unpaid work and 11 to 12 hours of standing.
Attention turned to Samsung, the world’s largest mobile phone maker, after its main rival Apple was embarrassed by labour law violations at the vast factories that make iPads and iPhones.
“Samsung takes concerns about working conditions in China seriously,” a Samsung spokesman said today.