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Samsung suspends ties with supplier after child labour allegation

A man walks out of Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Seoul on January 6, 2014.

KIM HONG-JI/REUTERS

Samsung Electronics Co. said it has suspended business ties with a Chinese supplier that allegedly hired children.

The South Korean company, which is the world's biggest smartphone maker, said in its blog Monday that it had found possible evidence of child labour and illegal hiring at Dongguan Shinyang Electronics Co.

Samsung said last week it would urgently look into the Chinese supplier following a New York-based watchdog's report that it hired at least five children under the age of 16.

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China Labor Watch said children as well as minors under 18 worked at Shinyang for three to six months to meet production targets during a period of high demand. The watchdog said the child workers were paid for 10 hours a day but worked 11 hours.

The report detailed 15 labour violations discovered during its undercover investigation. They included child labour, the absence of safety training, no overtime wages and no social insurance for temporary workers, who constituted at least 40 per cent of 1,200 employees at the Chinese cellphone parts supplier for Samsung.

China Labor Watch's report came shortly after Samsung said its audit found no child labour at hundreds of Chinese suppliers. Samsung began inspecting its Chinese suppliers after the labour watchdog raised the child labour issue in 2012.

Samsung said Chinese authorities are investigating the case and if the investigation finds child labour, Samsung will permanently stop doing business with Shinyang.

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