Samsung France misleading ethical commitment indictment: Samsung Electronics France ensures on its site make "efforts to build a sustainable supply chain" with, in particular, a tab dedicated to the policy of prohibition of child labor. The subsidiary has just been indicted for "deceptive marketing practices" between 2012 and 2017, according to France Inter. Clearly, Samsung is accused of having lied to French consumers about its ethical commitments. This follows the convocation of a representative of the French branch on April 17 by a judge, seized in June 2018 by complaints from NGOs Sherpa and ActionAid, on the working conditions of workers at its factories in China, Korea and in Vietnam.

These complaints, with a civil suit, sought to circumvent the prosecutor's refusal to pursue the investigations, by asking a judge directly to take the case. "This is the first time in France that it is recognized that the ethical commitments made by a company are likely to constitute business practices that engage, as such, their issuer," say the NGOs in a statement.

According to reports from several NGOs that were able to go directly to the factories concerned, minors under the age of 16 are employed on the assembly line to assemble phones in factories throughout Asia. Sherpa and ActionAid also denounce "abusive work schedules", "conditions of work and accommodation incompatible with human dignity" and "endangering workers". Sherpa gives details of the days of work in the plants. "These workers are paid less than 200 euros a month to assemble up to 1,600 phones a day," says the association.

Samsung France misleading ethical commitment indictment

In 2017, 45 workers at Samsung factories were interviewed by two NGOs and explained that they were standing for 9 to 12 hours in a row. According to France Inter, the SHARPS association has investigated the health of workers in Samsung factories in South Korea. At least 200 people are reported to have become ill, and 70 are said to have died because of the organic benzene compound used as a cleaner and plaster.


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Samsung nonetheless defends itself to exploit its workers. According to the company, the difficulties would come from certain subcontractors. Asked by Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke, the representative of Samsung in particular challenged the exploitation of people below the legal age, set at 16 years in China, says Le Point. The representative recognizes, however, "some deviations" from the labor regulations identified by a subcontractor in China following a multi-month investigation. Contacted by France Inter, a head of the press service of Samsung France disputes the merits of complaints.