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Brazil hits Samsung with lawsuit regarding factory conditions

August 14, 2013

Samsung is known as one of the world's premier mobile phone and electronics manufacturers - it is reasonable to say that a fair amount of the phone calls regularly made with international calling cards are conducted on Samsung devices. Recently, one of Samsung's major factories, located in Manaus, Brazil, fell under the scrutiny and criticism of the nation's government. The Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment announced its plans to levy a lawsuit against Samsung for "collective moral damages," as a result of the allegedly brutal working conditions at this facility, according to Agence France-Press.

The news source reported that after an audit of the facility - which is one of Samsung's largest, with 6,000 employees - the Labor Ministry concluded that employees were subjected to unfair practices. In a media statement, the department claimed that the company "subjects its employees to the risk of illness from repetitive activity and the intense pace of work on the assembly line." Workers were allegedly required to work for 15 hours a day on average, for periods as long as 27 days in a row. Smartphone assembly lines crewed by dozens of employees were expected to produce a device every 85 seconds.

As a result of these conditions, Manaus workers have already filed about 1,200 complaints, and the Labor Ministry's suit will demand 250 million reals - approximately $108 billion - from Samsung. The Korea-based tech giant claimed that it would investigate these issues and cooperate with Brazilian officials.

According to Fast Company, Brazil's Labor Ministry came to these conclusions after inspections conducted in May of 2011 and 2013. The source stated that the complaints being levied against Samsung are similar to those Apple received last year regarding its factories in China, where employees allegedly worked for 20 or more hours each day under oppressive supervision. Apple, one of Samsung's primary opponents in the mobile device market, agreed to allow independent inspectors to review its facilities.

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