At Samsung Electronics, our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of our 310,000 employees, who are critical to driving innovation around the world.
We are committed to enhancing our workplace environments and safety practices. We not only abide by strict laws and regulations, but also more rigorous standards that we set ourselves in Samsung Electronics’ Code of Conduct. We built our policy to ensure that all employees are protected and rewarded fairly, and that their rights are respected. We also require our suppliers to work in accordance with the Samsung Electronics Supplier Code of Conduct and we actively support them in managing compliance in their work environment.
Despite our best efforts and commitment to continuous improvement, issues can still arise. That is why we rigorously monitor compliance in our facilities, consult outside experts and regularly examine our working practices to identify areas for further improvement.
Earlier this month, South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh suggested that some of Samsung’s production facilities in Vietnam, India and Indonesia had violated several workplace standards. We took this allegation very seriously and would like to provide facts and clarifications regarding key claims:
– The report claimed that Samsung underpaid employees in the India and Indonesia factories. At all of our worksites, employees – including contract workers – are paid above the minimum wage and the levels set by law. They are also provided with an appropriate level of benefits and leaves. We greatly value our employees who help drive Samsung’s success, and are committed to helping them build their careers.
– The report said employees at Samsung’s facilities had not been aware of chemical substances used in the production process. Samsung makes information about chemicals, including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), available and provides training for employees who handle chemicals, in full compliance with the laws and regulations of the countries in which we operate.
– The report alleged that an employee death at Samsung’s Thai Nguyen plant in Vietnam in 2016 was potentially related to overworking and chemical exposure. We are deeply saddened by the passing of our former colleague and extend our sincere condolences to the family. The working hours and conditions during her four-month employment complied with regulations, while an investigation by the Vietnamese authorities showed that her cause of death was not related to her employment at our factory.
– The report claimed that Samsung provides commuting buses, dormitory housing and other benefits as means to control employees and their behavior. That is simply not true. The benefits we provide support employees by giving them commuting and housing options. We also offer opportunities for continuous development both in and outside of work. This is what makes Samsung a great place to work, earning us recognition in many different countries.
We would also like to share a few examples of initiatives and programs that we have in place to ensure our compliance with global standards and regulations:
– Samsung Electronics is a member of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) and we conform to the RBA Code of Conduct and its implementation methods, including due diligence across the company and our suppliers.
– In 2010, we established the Samsung Health Research Institute, which conducts research on work environment, manufacturing processes and materials to enhance our health and safety measures.
– Samsung has several guidelines in place to protect apprentices, trainees, immigrants and temporary workers. Due diligence and consulting with outside experts is conducted on a regular basis to monitor issues and prevent any potential human rights violations.
– Over 2018 – 2019, Samsung collaborated with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) – a global non-profit organization specializing in human rights – to conduct a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) for Samsung Electronics Vietnam. Samsung is using the findings to put even more measures in place to improve employee health and safety, and pre-empt any potential issues.
– All of our worksites globally are obligated to follow the EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) and the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) standards. We also provide regular training for employees who handle chemicals and conduct routine inspections of chemical storage and facilities management.
We have been operating manufacturing facilities in Vietnam, India and Indonesia for decades and the combined workforce in the three countries exceeds 100,000. We are proud that our success has allowed us to contribute to and become more integrated in the local communities. This growth would not have been possible if we had relied on sub-standard working practices.
We strive to meet the highest standards in employee health and safety everywhere. But despite our best efforts, unfortunate incidents can still occur in managing work hours and ensuring subcontractors meet safety standards. If and when compliance issues arise, we analyze and quickly pursue improvement measures to help prevent recurrence.
We also believe in promoting the rights of employees. Samsung’s labor and human rights policies value and embrace international human rights principles and standards, and the laws of the countries in which we conduct business.
In conformance to local law, employees have the right to form and join or not to join trade unions of their own choosing, to bargain collectively and to engage in peaceful assembly, as well as the right to refrain from such activities. We regret that there were issues in the past where our employees’ rights to organize were not fully respected.
We will strive to continuously improve our standards because we believe the success of our business comes from the success of our people.