Samsung has been hit with a $108-million lawsuit, courtesy of the Brazilian government, alleging the labor practices at the South Korean firm’s Zona Franca de Manaus factory leave a lot to be desired.
Brazil is accusing the company of providing poor working conditions and overworking the manufacturing plant’s assembly line employees.
The lawsuit is the result of an investigation conducted by the Ministry of Labor after receiving complaints about how employees are treated at the plant.
According to a report by news agency ReporterBrasil, employees of the plant — the main supplier of Samsung products to Latin America — were forced to stand for their entire 10- to 15-hour shifts without receiving a break. Some employees even worked 27 days in a row with no days off.
The workers were reportedly told to assemble Smartphones at a rate of 85 seconds per device plus six seconds for packaging. As a result of the speed with which employees were allegedly expected to perform their duties, tendonitis, back problems and other such disorders became commonplace, the investigation concluded.
The investigation also revealed of the 5,600 people employed at the factory, 2,018 had submitted requests for removal from the factory floor due to health issues and 1,200 filed legal complaints about the working conditions.
According to the ReporterBrasil report, the Ministry of Labor “projects that about 20 percent of employees will develop some type of MSDs in the next five years” if the work conditions are not improved.
Aside from the $108 million in damages being sought by the Ministry of Labor, the organization is also demanding employees receive 10-minute breaks for every 50 minutes of hard work.
Samsung told ReporterBrasil it plans to work with the Brazilian government to resolve the matter.
“Once we receive notification about this case, we will perform an analysis of the process and will cooperate fully with the Brazilian authorities,” the company said, adding that is “committed to providing our employees around the world a work environment that ensures the highest industry standards regarding safety, health and well-being.”
This is not the first time Samsung has been accused of poor labor practices.
The South Korean firm was forced to take corrective actions last November after it was discovered one of the company’s Chinese suppliers had hired seven employees under the legal working age of 16. The company was also accused of forcing employees to work overtime.
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Brazil Sues Samsung for $108M, Alleges Labor Violations
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