Brussels, 21 March 2018 (ITUC OnLine): The International Trade Union Confederation has put threats against factory workers and labour activists in Samsung’s Vietnamese factories on top of the agenda for President Moon Jae-in during his visit to the country.
News media across the globe have been heaping praise on Samsung's cool new Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones. But amid all the raves about the tech innovations and fancy features of these devices, the lives of the mostly female workers who make them have been virtually ignored.
Few consumers or reporters are aware, for example, that half of all Samsung phones are manufactured in Vietnam by a female-majority workforce in their twenties.
Our organizations explored this hidden story by conducting in-depth, open-ended, confidential interviews with 45 women who work on the assembly lines at two Samsung factories in Vietnam. What we found was shocking.
"We are writing to respond to Samsung's criticisms of our recent study on working conditions at the company's mobile phone factories in Vietnam... In Vietnam and abroad, Samsung has been actively attempting to suppress and discredit this study that documents a number of concerning health and safety violations... However, none of Samsung's efforts can erase the evidence that Samsung has violated Vietnamese labour law and failed to honour its business obligations on human rights...
Our study and the company's reaction to it revealed several findings that are inconsistent with Samsung's obligations under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights including complying with national laws, providing a safe and healthy working environment, protecting the family unit, right to form independent trade unions, and freedom of expression...
Leading advocates from human rights, labor rights, women’s rights, public health, environmental justice, and sustainable purchasing organizations from around the world are
on Samsung to protect the thousands of workers - most of them women of child-bearing age - who are making their mobile phones at factories in Vietnam. A
from the Hanoi-based, gender equity NGO
Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment in Development
(CGFED) and IPEN identified numerous health and labor violations from interviews with 45 women who work at two of Samsung’s factories in Vietnam. Please sign and invite your network to join the signature campaign on
BBC covered the release of the CGFED/IPEN report on 15 December, in which the news outlet highlighted report findings, including workers' experiences of extreme fatigue, fainting and dizziness at work, and many accounts of miscarriage. In response, deputy general manager of Samsung Electronics Vietnam, Bang Hyun Woo said,"This report does not have a scientific basis." He also said much of the content in the report was "false" and "arbitrary."
IPEN requests Samsung "transparently publishes a complete list of chemicals used at the manufacturing facilities and describes the control."