Case Study: Child Labour In Samsung’s Supply Chain A Closer Look At Shinyang Electronics Co. Ltd

3883 words - 16 pages


The Business Ethics Case ...................................................................................... 3
1.1. Presentation of the Case ....................................................................................... 3
1.2. What moral norms are violated by whom? ............................................................. 4
1.3. Possible causes for the violation of moral norms ................................................... 5
2. The Ethics / Business Ethics Theory ..................................................................... 7
2.1. Presentation of the Theory Chosen: Human Rights Theory ................................... 7
2.2. Application of ...view middle of the document...

....... 15

Page 3

1. The Business Ethics Case

Presentation of the Case

Already in August 2012, first allegations of child labour arose after the New York based
NGO China Labour Watch (CLW) started an undercover inspection of Samsung Suppliers
in China. According to the official statement of the Korean number one smartphone producer, subsequent inspections showed no trace of child labour (CLW 2014).
Figure 1: 14-year old child

In June 2014, the CLW planted another undercover in-

worker at Shinyang

vestigator at a Dongguan Shinyang Electronics Co. Ltd.
factory. In this factory producing smartphone covers and
parts, countless violations against the Chinese labour law
were found. Children below the minimum working age of
16 years (Ministry of Commerce 1995) were employed
without labour contracts. In an independent interview by
New York Times reporter Barboza (2014) with three child
workers from the same factory, the children claimed to be

Source: CLW (2014)

part of a “labour dispatch system”. According to them, children are placed at factories during summer to meet the surge in orders that arises before the fall and winter shopping
season in Europe and the United States. The labour dispatch company borrows identification cards from other factories to register the children. At the factories, the children are
then allowed to skip the facial recognition procedure to avoid matching their faces to the
government database (Barboza 2014). The CLW (2014) as well as Barboza (2014) stated,
that children working at the Shinyang plant are paid one third less (approx. $1.20 per
hour) than other workers, even though working under the same conditions. The work itself
is executed under mentally and physically dangerous or harmful conditions. The children
mainly work night shifts of 11 hours, while only being paid for 10 hours (CLW 2014). Below further violations according to the CLW (2014) are listed:

Workers do not receive any safety training, even though they have contact with
harmful chemicals (industrial alcohol & thinners) & receive protective equipment
only when specifically requested.


Shinyang does not purchase social insurance for temporary workers.


Shinyang does not offer special protection for minors or child workers.


Shinyang has established a very broad list of rules, giving them pretext to punish
workers for almost anything. The rule guidelines allow punishment for “any other
mistake or misbehavior”.

Page 4


Children have the same high quotas as adults (700 units per hour).


Dormitories are hot, crowded & lack hot water.


After children finish their shift (8 am), the cafeteria is already closed. When they
wake up after sleeping, the cafeteria is closed again (at 6pm).

Samsung’s sustainability report states that after the inspection of several hundreds of its
suppliers in the past year “no instances of child labour...

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