- Samsung, already under fire for its spectacular failure with the Note 7, recently adopted new migrant worker guidelines, Tech Crunch reported Monday.
- The adoption of these guidelines, at the recommendation of Business for Social Responsibility NGO, come after allegations of worker abuse in Malaysia, including reports of management stealing passports, extortion, and misleading pay promises.
- The new guidelines also come as part of Samsung's membership in the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coaltion (EICC) Code of Conduct, which requires an ongoing assessment of a company's adherence to the Code.
Samsung is the latest company to uncover human rights violations within their supply chain and be prompted to take immediate measures. In recent months violations have been uncovered in Australian fruit supply chains, online fashion and in the manufacture of garments in third world countries.
Furthermore, measures are being undertaken with the understanding that the guidelines not only apply to their main Samsung work sites, but also where suppliers' facilities are located, as well as the recruiting agencies that Samsung uses to hire migrant workers. It is within these second and third tiers of the supply chain where the violations remain the most hidden, and it is therefore incumbent on Samsung to make sure that scrutiny reaches to these levels.
Such violations as age of workers, the right to equal treatment and limited working hours, plus established wages and health and safety are all addressed within the guidelines, establishing a clear set of rules to follow. The question remains, however, how successful it will be at rooting out its own failings, as self-established watchdogs are rarely successful at enforcing, let alone recognizing, abuses along the supply chain.
It is one thing for a company like Samsung to provide the training, awareness and guidelines for protecting people from human rights abuse, but it is quite another to hold itself accountable in real terms when those oversight measures actually serve their intended purpose.