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Brazil Sues Samsung Over Worker Conditions 110

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-work dept.
First time accepted submitter konohitowa writes "The Financial Times is reporting that the Brazilian government has filed a lawsuit against Samsung for working conditions that put workers' health at risk (both through repetitive motion injuries as well as excessive consecutive work days). Samsung has 'promised to conduct a thorough review and fully co-operate with the Brazilian authorities once it receives details of the complaint.'"
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Brazil Sues Samsung Over Worker Conditions

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  • And then... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Samsung has 'promised to conduct a thorough review and fully co-operate with the Brazilian authorities once it receives details of the complaint.'"

    And then they will move the plant to Mexico.

    • by erroneus (253617)

      yes... built by robots.

      I think this is more about everyone scrambling to squeeze more money from their incoming streams as the global financial crises are continuing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 15, 2013 @12:39AM (#44571115)

    Why would /. allow a submission that uses a source that requires registration or a premium account to view?

  • Enough (Score:3, Funny)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @01:08AM (#44571203)
    Samsux is going too far imitating Apple. Get a grip.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You mean a signal blocking grip?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Huh? You realise this is actually samsung's employees we're talking about here.

      In Samsung's case, it's Samsung directly making the decisions about how they're treated.
      In Apple's case, Apple specifies one thing in the contract for how they're treated, the 3rd party (sometimes) does another thing.

      Apple are actively trying to stop this kind of thing, Samsung it appears are complicit in it.

    • Re:Enough (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gnasher719 (869701) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @03:36AM (#44571659)

      Samsux is going too far imitating Apple. Get a grip.

      Excuse me, but how is Samsung imitating Apple here? Apple has audits everywhere checking working conditions at the factories of their contractors and subcontractors, and fixes problems when they are found. This here is Samsung's own factory.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <(ten.frow) (ta) (todhsals)> on Thursday August 15, 2013 @01:12AM (#44571221)

    A copy of the story from The Verge [theverge.com].

    Interestingly, Samsung paid out $200,000 in 2011 to Brazil for working conditions as well.

    And China Labour Watch also has citations to Samsung.

    • A copy of the story from The Verge [theverge.com].

      Interestingly, Samsung paid out $200,000 in 2011 to Brazil for working conditions as well.

      And China Labour Watch also has citations to Samsung.

      I'm not familiar with the US law, but the Ministry of Labour in Canada will take a company to court if they believe the company to be violating worker safety laws.

      In other words, it's great to see that Brazil is enforcing labour laws... but not particularly surprising. As countries move to establish and enforce workers rights (and move away from manufacturing our junk), more lawsuits will occur.

      It's how workers rights are enforced, and it isn't news in a developed country ... (and brazil is far more deve

    • And China Labour Watch also has citations to Samsung.

      It says something when a private group that watches a country known for literally working its citizens to death in sweat shops, building giant dams using substandard concrete and technology that will one day result in a major ecological disaster... and saying nothing when one of the major employers started installing suicide nets on its properties to catch workers who were throwing themselves out of windows... says you have a problem with working conditions in your factories.

      This is rather like Osama Bin La

      • It only says that the government of the country in question, like all governments, does not prioritize what is important, and goes after random targets, as the political wind blows.

        Samsung does nothing in China differently from other companies. More likely than not someone forgot to pay that month's bribe.

        In Brazil (and in US) things are considerably better regarding working conditions, but the idea of random government targets for audits and fines and their relation to bribes (or lack thereof) still
  • It's this kind of article that makes me hopeful for the human race. That the answer to corporate solvency isn't necessarily to find some third world country where you can work your employees seven days a week for bottlecaps.

    Or, if that is the answer, you deserve to fail.

  • working conditions (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    In South Korea, work ethic is highly valued and people actually take pride in consecutive work days. Even a job as laid back as teaching usually requires 6 10 hour days a week. It's a ridiculous "hurry up and get it done but work all the damn time anyways" culture.

  • Boycott samsung, amiright?
  • I am sure that Foxconn would still be more than happy to open their new rumored plant in Brazil and help one of the most impoverished countries in the world better themselves after this!

    • by gustgr (695173)

      one of the most impoverished countries in the world better themselves after this!

      This is not really the case, at least in a large part of the country, specially in the Southern regions (São Paulo and below). I live in São Paulo right now (that's the state, not the city!), in a medium size town (pop. 250,000), have a regular job and my quality of life is not very much different than when I lived in Germany for some years, quite a while ago. The main problems are public services, specially health services (but I, like half of Brazilian population, have a private health insurance

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        The main problems are public services, specially health services (but I, like half of Brazilian population, have a private health insurance) and public transportation

        Not endemic crime? Because the inability to own anything because someone will steal it is a real turnoff. I was looking into moving there, and it doesn't seem like a really good idea with the frequent hostage kidnappings etc.

  • How much of this is an actual complaint and how much of it is blaming the foreigners? I'm sure if Brazil looked around they could find hundreds of domestic companies who were much worse. What's the political situation in Brazil right now, is the government hurting for cash or is an election coming up?
    • by gustgr (695173) <rondina AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 15, 2013 @05:52AM (#44572013) Homepage

      Actually, it is much harder for a domestic company (specially if it is not very large) to get away with this kind of behavior.

      Brazil has very strict work laws, up to the point that even nannies and house cleaners are jobs under strict regulation. This case with Samsung is indeed very worrying, however it is not as common in companies as most people would expect in Brazil. We have hundreds of unions who have very resonant voices in politics.

      Work conditions abuses in Brazil come mostly in two flavors:

      i) Rural work in farms, specially up North. It is not uncommon to have people working under slavery regime in some farms, and some of the scandals involve even politicians who are also big farmers. The workers are usually very poor people who are deluded into getting a job in a farm and getting rich. Their travel costs are covered by the farmer, and so is living cost and food, and they stay in an eternal debt without ever leaving. They end up working 18 hours shifts for food, with no sanitary conditions, etc. This is taken seriously in Brazil, but more often than not the responsible for this are rich people, so they get away with fines and never see the inside of a jail cell.

      ii) Manual labor done by foreigners, in particular by South Americans. In Sao Paulo city there are 200,000 Bolivians, 80% of them are illegal, and most of them work with sewing. They work under very poor conditions and earn very little. Since most of them are illegal, and most of them are in debt with people who helped them to get here, they are afraid to seek the police.

      But in companies this is not the case. Even to me this news about Samsung came as a shock.

  • Find an excuse for the behaviour! It doesn't matter about the particular individual human beings that are suffering, because you have to look at some twisted bigger picture!

    Unless it's a white American or European, then a single harm is a tragedy.

  • by Psychotria (953670) on Thursday August 15, 2013 @04:27AM (#44571821)

    So, the Brazilian government is doing something positive to improve the conditions of workers and all people on here can do is complain? Wow.

    Samsung’s Manaus factory, which has 6,000 employees, instructed workers to perform triple the amount of movements considered safe under ergonomic studies, prosecutors said.

    So, umm, that's ok?

    ... while one [employee] worked 27 straight days without a day off ...

    This is ok as well? I admit this one is a bit less clear cut because it doesn't say how many hours the employee worked each day, but... seriously.

    You're all (ok, most) saying -- essentially -- "fuck Brazil" and that this is not right. What the FUCK?

    You know what I say? Slashdot these days is populated by pre-pubescent fucktards. Seriously, get over your entitlement shit and grow a brain. If this was happening in "USA: Fuck Yeah" you'd all have the opposite opinion. Arrgh.

    • by puto (533470)
      Actually as someone of South American heritage, it is more likely to be payola than anything. I have lived on and off doing projects in Colombia since 1989 as well as working for a company that a branch in Brazil. Brazil is very protective of labor community, but more than likely it is the Brazilian middle managers who get bonuses based on output, who are cracking the whip. In Colombia the work week is 48 hours, and usually six days a week. But here is a typical day in the life of a latin american work
    • by volmtech (769154)
      When I was working I often worked four weeks without a day off. I worked weekends at side jobs for extra money. Should someone have stopped me? Why yes, I am on disability, how did you know?
  • The corrupt nature of a 3rd world's government, being kickback-oriented, has grotesquely harmed a lot more workers. Save your outrage for where it belongs instead of following in lockstep with some western politicians memeview of what should concern you.

    Hint: The reason Brazil, with the population and resources of the US, isn't wealthy with everybody with a two car garage and much longer lifespans isn't because of western companies invading with factories -- it's because they don't.

    Clogging them with facto

  • Samsung forgot to pay their bribes to the Brazilian authorities.
  • ...they were given tickets to Carnival.

    Carnival Cruise Lines, that is....

Arithmetic is being able to count up to twenty without taking off your shoes. -- Mickey Mouse

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