back to article Samsung sticks with child labour shame fab: Zero-tolerance means 30% less trade

Samsung will do 30 per cent less business with a Chinese parts maker reportedly caught with underage workers at its factory – despite the supplier’s promises to comply with labour laws in future. The South Korean chaebol suspended business with Dongguan Shinyang Electronics, a subsidiary of Shinyang Engineering, when US …

  1. Arctic fox
    Thumb Up

    "Samsung has decided to still take measures"

    Delighted to hear it. I would say the same regardless of which company was concerned.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Samsung are worse than Apple for exploitation and H&S, yet Apple gets all the focus.

    1. returnmyjedi

      Regardless of who wins in the exploitation stakes, the likely reason for the focus upon Apple is both the company's and its devoted acolytes' holier than thou attitude that they excrete. Apple made a big song and dance shout their membership of FairLabor but almost immediately afterwards stories emerged about child labour and draconian rules at the plants making the 5C.

      1. veti Silver badge

        I know this'll get reflexively downvoted, but...

        The point of signing up to initiatives like 'Fair Labor' isn't to show how holy and spotless you are, it's a step towards uncovering abuses and stopping them. You can't hope to stamp out child labour until you've got, among other things, a rigorous definition of how to recognise it, a procedure for dealing with it, and a policy that says "henceforth, these things shall be done". Fair Labor helps its members to come up with those things.

        So the fact that Apple's situation came to light after it made that announcement - isn't proof of hypocrisy, it's how the system is designed to work.

    2. Donkey Molestor X

      "but but but Aaaaaple"

      Nice persecution complex you've got there, nonny. Just rhetorically run right past the overworked child labourers to wrap your favourite fruity fondleslab firm in glory!

    3. Kroneous

      Do any of you fools ever bother to read these deluded mistitled ignorant stories the infamous Register Tabloid puts up to get hits? Nah..... why bother. When all you really want to do is HATE on the #1 Smartphone maker, let alone the Top Global Conglomerate in the World... Samsung!

      Get real, open your eyes and read past the bogus headlines always on the Register. Which is nothing more than a con job "COME ON" to get you to read their bogus twist on the TRUTH!

      Reality here is that Samsung has decided not to quit this subcontractor all together (cut by 30%). Because they found out that it was one of this subcontractor's subcontractors that had hired the underage workers in the first place. It's a he said... she said scam by this so called child protection charity to make Samsung look bad. But all you iCrAppleholic fools are out just like Apple for the same thing. To make Samsung look bad to save your own face. So you can all puff up your Elitist chest, claiming "See.... Samsung hires underage workers too"! haha...... yeah right. They hired a subcontractor (not even a contractor directly, like Apple does with Foxconn) that hired a subcontractor, who had hired the kids in the first place! Engage your brain and think about that for more than the few seconds you fools use it a day!!!

      When now we come to find out the truth, only by reading past the HEADLINE, deeper into this perverted ignorant hater story. Samsung will now still be using this company, but by far less. Even though the company (subcontractor) that originally was accused of using child labor as Samsung's Subcontractor didn't hire the kids in the first place. A subcontractor of the subcontractor was the one that had hired the kids and that original subcontractor has since killed doing business with said subcontractor (temp labor agency), they had hired to find workers. Most likely Apple back door funded that subcontractor's subcontractor to make Samsung look bad for iDiot fans like you. So you all can feel better about a company that is the king of enslaving kids working at Apple's Totally Outsourced Good Buddies at Foxconn Children's Prison Camp. The aka.... Taiwanese Hon Hai. Owned by the notorious Big Mouthed Billionaire Terry Gou. Who thinks all his Chinese workers are "dogs and animals", like Apple does!

      "Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide, and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache". Terry Gou is more Arrogant than even Apple is!!!

  3. Hans 1

    Underage workers in Asia is the norm. Manufactured in Asia = manufactured by adults and children

    When will we understand that ?

    The only option to avoid child labour is Western companies manage manufacturing plants directly in Asia, and even then ... child labour is cheaper.

    1. Kroneous

      Yeah..... the truth comes as a surprise to some people, but the reality is that the Chinese are still using a centuries old tradition of class warfare (not unlike America). Keep workers of families at the lowest rung barely able to survive, so those higher up can feel somewhat better than those under them on up to the lower middle class, middle class, elite class, so all the upper elitists (upper crust Bourgeois class) can hoard all the money and power for themselves and feel they're better than everyone else! The Few Elitists vs the Many Slaves!!!

      It's feudal state at it's finest. So now what do these poor peasant families do about having one less wage earner, knocking them further down the rungs of poverty? These so called do gooders are actually doing them more harm than having these kids working. Let 'em work, just make sure conditions are better. We can go around dictating society norms to people who've survived the worst horrors of enslavement all for Westerners enjoying CHEAPER PRODUCTS at their expense!!!

  4. Randy Hudson

    Zero tolerance?

    If they "will do 30 per cent less business", it sounds more like 70% tolerance?

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Re: Zero tolerance?

      Thank you. I thought my maths battery was dead.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Zero tolerance?

      To put it more charitably, that would be "this supplier is about 30% culpable, but we're satisfied that they've improved".

      To put it more cynically, it would be "we wanted to diversify our supply chain, and this was a way to do it without giving the supplier a reason to complain".

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chinese authorities discovered that Dongguan was not directly responsible for employing the children, finding that a subcontractor had hired them through a labour agency.

    how on earth was China Labor Watch able to tell the workers in question were underage? since Dongguan was evidently unable to do so despite (presumably) having far more regular contact with their employees.

    1. razorfishsl


      Everyone in China has an ID card.

      Run a check, if it's genuine it will show up.

      If it is fake, then the worker usually admits the true age.

      1. Kroneous

        Apparently you don't understand that with a population of nearly 2 Billion people, people often pass through the cracks and many are undocumented than we think. Look how many undocumented people live in America? It's in the Millions there and they only have around 300 Million to worry about. There are parts of China where they never see any government officials. Where women still deliver babies while working in rice fields. It's true and yet in Westerner's ignorance we allow atrocities to take place all around the World, thinking nobody anywhere is struggling just to survive. How about those remote Amazonian tribe being pushed out of their homelands over illegal logging? What is anybody doing about that?

        Maybe this child labor watch group should go down there and make a big deal about those parents putting their kids to work at too early of an age just to survive? Intrude on their way of life even more than we are. Make sure they all get their government ID's and Welfare with McDonalds Hamburgers. Along with Hawaiian Shirts and gangster rap hats and music too! .....and for God's sake force the women wear bras for sure. So when we teach them lap and pole dancing they aren't getting each other's cooties on each other! ;-P know, so then we can send in the Christian Missionaries to Save their Souls! btw.... what we're doing in China really isn't any better and that's the real travesty and injustice here!!!

    2. Mark 85

      I was wondering how is that Dongguan didn't notice that they had children working the line. But you summed it all up nicely. One side says they didn't know, but the Labor Watch people did... very suspicious.

  6. dan1980

    "Chinese authorities discovered that Dongguan was not directly responsible for employing the children, finding that a subcontractor had hired them through a labour agency."

    This is the problem, right here.

    It is the same the type of problem we see with the textile industry in the sub-continent. The reality is that regulations mean lower profits. If you have to pay your workers more, or give them holidays or adhere to fire safety standards then that's money that's not in your pocket.

    The simple truth is that someone, somewhere is making money from using child labour. In cases like this, each link in the chain (brand > factory > subcontractor > agency) is earning more money through these processes so they just don't have a strong enough incentive to prevent it.

    Samsung is able to squeeze a slightly lower cost per unit because the factory is able to reduce its workforce expenditure by using a sub-contractor, which is able to lower its costs by using an agency, which, in turn, can lower its costs by supplying underage labour.

    Everyone in the chain benefits from this so long as no one finds out. If someone does find out, they can shift the blame one step further.

    It's a case of it being better (more profitable) to seek forgiveness than ask permission. Or, more accurately, to try and address the 'problem' only after it's been found out, rather than actively try to prevent it happening in the first place. That will continue unchanged so long as there are no substantial punishments for those involved. Such penalties need to be applied right up the chain.

    In other words, Samsung must have a clear interest in ensuring that their products have not been constructed with child labour. If they do, that interest flows down the chain. So long as blame can be passed from company to factory to out-sourcer, to contractor, to agency this process will continue.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely it's better to have the kids working in factories than sitting at home doing nothing?

  8. Unicornpiss

    "Think of the children!"

    It's good that child labor is being addressed. However, I don't think the adults are treated all that fairly/well either in Asian factories. True, at least they have more of a choice, but barely.

  9. trafalgar

    How costly is it to make hi-tech stuff in the UK? TVs, tablets etc?

    1. phil dude

      uk living, working, hitec manufacturing...

      My personal experience is that the UK is a very expensive place to live and work, for an average quality of living.

      Food and Energy costs. Where I am now Energy is probably 1/3 that in the UK (it helps with supercomputers). Food is a bit hard to compare directly but diversity is amazing - next time you go shopping, look at the staples that came from the Americas. (What, no vindaloo???!!!!).

      Living in Oxford was costing at least 100% more than here in TN in equivalent geographical terms i.e. I live within 10 minutes walk of the University. I need a car, sure, but they are relatively cheap, and I can moderate any commutes.

      The UK is also short on "free land", so that every new piece of capital building costs a fortune before the first shovel of dirt is turned. The USA is vast.

      If you want to have cheap hi-tech goods made locally you must have cheap cost of living, cheap labour and have a large market to offset large capital costs.

      The USA has all of them, the UK has none of them.

      Did I miss anything....?


      1. Tom 13

        Re: uk living, working, hitec manufacturing...

        Regulation is also less in the US, although the pols seem to have the petal to the metal in an effort to catch up.

        The thing is, for all the benefits you see in those areas comparing the US to the UK, comparing the US to China you'll see the same benefits, albeit sometimes for different reasons.

  10. Christoph

    "long hours, inadequate pay and punitive systems that discipline workers by docking their pay or stopping them from taking breaks. "

    Who do they think they are, Amazon?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Child Labour vs Children Labour

    Growing up in UK in a farming communicty on the East Coast. Defining children as aged under 18. As children we learned about work early, from picking strawberries to cleaning bulbs. It taught us the

    value of work, and the value of money for the work. I was driving a tractor as soon as I could press the clutch. I'm not condoning child labour but I am suggesting that there is a place for children in a safe workforce. The conditions need to be right, there must be no exploitation and wages need to be fair. All of that was true way back.

    I was cycling through Oregon one day and a farmer stopped me, we started talking. I yacked on about my past. He said he used to bring in children from Portland to pick strawberries. They liked it, the transport was free and they (presumably) received good money for their work and learned a work ethic. That effort was shut down by the feds because of child labour laws. What are those children doing now? Most probably sitting at home socialising on their fondle slabs.

    There is such a thing as valuable work experience and children need the "opportunity" to experience it. There needs to be a balance, children who want work experience in a well supervised, non punitive setting is valuable and having a positive product output beith punnets of strawberries, bags of tulip bulbd, or fondle slabs can be very positive.

    Apologies for the AC post, doubless thiss will be down voted 10^99 times.

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