Malaysia: Panasonic & Samsung face allegations that workers in their supply chains are being cheated, exploited & underpaid; companies launch investigations

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12 December 2016

Malaysia: Samsung ends contract with foreign labor company after reports of serious abuse

Author: Eric Lieberman, The Daily Caller

Samsung announced...that it was ending a business agreement with a foreign company a month after several allegations of abusive conditions for migrant workers were released...

Some of the worker complaints of the company included illegal seizure of passports, misleading salary amount, exacting exorbitant agency fees to retain employment, and poor treatment like long periods of forced standing without rest or bathroom breaks...

“Samsung Electronics conducted an on-site investigation of these companies we work with in Malaysia and the migrant workers hired by these companies,” the corporation said in an official blog post. “Based on this investigation, we identified one of our labor supply companies to be in violation of the hiring process of migrant workers, and as consequence, we terminated our contract with this company.”

The tech company is introducing new guidelines to help address these issues, in which “the intent of the guidelines is to eradicate any existing or potential of forced or coercive labor, slave labor or human trafficking of migrant workers either at Samsung or among any of our suppliers.”...

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21 November 2016

Samsung and Panasonic accused over supply chain labour abuses in Malaysia

Author: Pete Pattisson, Guardian (UK)

"Samsung and Panasonic accused over supply chain labour abuses in Malaysia"

Samsung and Panasonic, two of the world’s leading electronics brands, are facing allegations that workers in their supply chains are being duped, exploited and underpaid in Malaysia.

The two companies have launched investigations into allegations of abuse made by Nepalese workers after a Guardian investigation raised multiple concerns about their treatment.

The men said they had been deceived about pay, had their passports confiscated and had been told that they must pay large fines if they wanted to return to Nepal before the end of their contract. They also claimed they were forced to work for up to 14 hours on their feet without adequate rest, and with restricted toilet breaks, in an attempt to settle recruitment fees of up to £1,000 – they said they had to pay this money to secure their jobs…

Both Panasonic and Samsung forbid their suppliers from confiscating passports or charging migrant workers recruitment fees. Yet all the men interviewed by the Guardian claimed they paid up to £1,000 to recruitment agents in Nepal to secure their jobs in Malaysia. They all also claimed that their passports were confiscated on arrival in the country, illegal under Malaysian employment law…

“Brands working in Malaysia have to recognise that the standard operating procedure for labour contractors is debt bondage and this has ramifications,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Asia.

“Taking someone from Nepal and putting them in a factory in Malaysia costs money, and if these costs are not being factored into the price of a phone, or a microwave or a speaker, then they are complicit in a system that expects the workers to suffer as a result.”

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