A couple of French campaign groups filed a legal case against South Korean tech pioneer Samsung in France on Thursday over the alleged use of child labor and other abuses in Chinese manufacturing plants working for the electronics giant.
The NGOs Peuples Solidaires and Sherpa lodged a complaint in Paris against Samsung’s French subsidiary and international parent company. The campaigns essentially accused the company of misleading commercial practices.
Relying on the research from the China Labour Watch group, the French campaigners alleged that children had been found in Chinese plants producing Samsung products and that other staff faced severe health problems.
The campaigners targetted the Samsung’s stated objective of becoming one of the most ethical companies in the world, which they said amounted to misleading consumers and commercial cheating.
“We are asking the justice system to sanction the unacceptable gap between its ethical commitments and the reality in its factories as described by Chinese NGOs on the ground,” the French groups said in a statement.
Peuples Solidaires and Sherpa were failed with their previous complaint against Samsung in 2014, but claim they now have new evidence that backs up their case based on work by China Labor Watch.
The Chinese group essentially carries out sting operations by sending undercover workers into factories to report on conditions there. The group has produced a series of highly serious reports since 2012 highlighting cases of abuse at companies that work for Samsung.
The most critical allegations date back to 2012, however, and Samsung has since carried out an audit of many of its Chinese suppliers and made public some of the violations it found.
However, Samsung has yet to comment on the issue.