As Apple cleans up its Asian labor rights act, Samsung is increasingly under pressure to end a range of serious abuses, including child labor.

The Washington, DC-based Fair Labor Association (FLA) has good news for Foxconn, Apple’s biggest and most important partner in China — conditions are improving for workers. Additionally, the world’s biggest contract manufacturer says it is on track to complete mandated reforms, like reduced overtime and broader unemployment coverage, by 2013. Step inside for more news about Apple labor practices as well as disturbing reports child labor at Samsung’s Chinese factories.

A MarketWatch write up base on a just released FLA report says that Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn has made substantial progress toward ending labor abuses at its facilities in China.

Foxconn said the report proved its facilities are reaching their targets, calling the review “the largest and most comprehensive assessment of an electronics manufacturing operation ever undertaken by any independent audit organization in China.”

Earlier this year, independent industry watchdog Fair Labor Association inspected and observed practices at plants where Apple products, like the iPhone and iPad, are made and then laid out steps Foxconn should take to bring their operations into compliance with Chinese and international labor standards.

Earlier this year, independent industry watchdog Fair Labor Association inspected and observed practices at plants where Apple products, like the iPhone and iPad, are made and then laid out steps Foxconn should take to bring their operations into compliance with Chinese and international labor standards.

Samsung: Kids Making Toys for Adults

As Foxconn cleans up its Chinese labor rights act, Samsung is increasingly under pressure to end a range of serious abuses, including child labor violations.

China Labor Watch recently announced an undercover investigation of Harbin Electronic Group (HEG) factories, Samsung’s lead contract manufacturer in China, revealed that at least seven children (i.e. under the age of 16) are employed to make popular devices like the Android-based Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note.

“[HEG] has clearly violated Chinese labor laws,” said China Labor Watch. “A serious light needs to be shone on these issues.”

The China Labor Watch’s report noted that 80 percent of HEG factory employees are students and that forced overtime is the norm.

Apple labor up, Samsung not so much

It is rather sad that, given all of the negative publicity Apple has endured, that Samsung didn’t take those lessons and reform its own practices in China.

Then again, as has been shown again and again, companies will get away with whatever they can get away with because they can…

What’s your take?

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