Samsung Electronics

Brazil sues Samsung over conditions at factory

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2016, 1:04pm

Brazil has filed a lawsuit against Samsung alleging poor working conditions at a factory in the Amazon and is demanding more than US$100 million in damages.

The Ministry of Labour said staff worked up to 15 hours a day, including 10 hours on their feet, and sometimes for 27 days straight.

The audit was performed at the Manaus plant, one of the largest of Samsung's 25 factories worldwide. The facility employs 6,000 workers and supplies all of Latin America.

The South Korean electronics giant "subjects its employees to the risk of illness from repetitive activity and the intense pace of work on the assembly line", the ministry said.

According to a report on the website of the Tribuna Hoje newspaper, workers at the plant are given just six seconds to place a phone with its battery, charger, earphones and instruction manual in its packaging. Individual workers can repeat this process up to 6,800 times a shift.

The report said workers were given 4.8 seconds to place a television in its cardboard packaging, while the assembly of a smartphone - involving dozens of workers on a production line - was clocked at 85 seconds.

Samsung said the company was reviewing the allegations.

"We are conducting a thorough review of the complaint, and promise to fully co-operate with the Brazilian authorities," the company said.

"We take great care to provide a workplace environment that assures the highest industry standards of health, safety, and welfare for our employees across the world."

The government is seeking 250 million reals (HK$838 million) in "collective moral damages". Samsung already faces 1,200 legal complaints by workers at Manaus.

The world's largest maker of smartphones, memory chips and LCD display panels was prosecuted in Brazil in 2011 over poor working conditions and paid a settlement of about US$200,000.

It has also been accused of hiring children in China and faced a flurry of lawsuits in South Korea from workers over health hazards at its factories.

Additional reporting by Associated Press