Samsung said on Monday it had temporarily suspended business with one of its suppliers in China after finding “evidence” of possible illegal child labour at the plant.
The South Korean electronics giant launched an investigation into Dongguan Shinyang Electronics after the rights monitoring group China Labour Watch (CLW) reported the factory was employing workers under the age of 16.
“Following the investigation, Samsung decided to temporarily suspend business with the factory in question as it found evidence of suspected child labour at the work site,” the company said in a statement.
The Chinese authorities are also looking into the case, Samsung said, adding that if it was proved the factory hired children illegally the business suspension would become permanent.
The company stressed that it maintained a “zero-tolerance” policy on child labour and conducted regular inspections of its suppliers to ensure its implementation.
“It is unfortunate that the [CLW] allegation surfaced despite Samsung’s efforts,” it said, vowing to further strengthen monitoring to prevent similar cases in the future.
In its report, the New York-based watchdog had cited other violations at the same factory, including unpaid overtime wages, excessive overtime and a lack of social insurance and training.
Samsung said it had audited Dongguan Shinyang Electronics three times since last year, including an inspection last month.
China Labour Watch called Samsung’s monitoring system “ineffective”.