France: NGOs file misleading advertising lawsuit against Samsung in relation to alleged labour rights violations in factories



On 11 January 2018, Sherpa and ActionAid France – Peuples solidaires filed a lawsuit against electronic company Samsung and its French subsidiary in front of a Paris court (Tribunal de Grande Instance). The NGOs allege that Samsung engaged in deceptive trade practices, citing contradictions between the Group's stated ethical commitments and documented labour rights violations within its factories in China and South Korea.

Samsung did not comment.

See December 2017 IPEN report on working conditions in Samsung factories in Vietnam, includes Samsung's response.

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11 January 2018

Samsung target of a lawsuit that would expose human rights violations

Author: Sherpa and ActionAid France – Peuples solidaires

...Sherpa and ActionAid France – Peuples solidaires have been investigating on these alleged violations since 2012. Today, we are filing a lawsuit for misleading advertising before the French Court in Paris against the electronic giant headquartered in South Korea, SAMSUNG GLOBAL, and its French subsidiary, SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS FRANCE.

The evidences gathered for this lawsuit, among which the very well documented reports from the NGO China Labor Watch which has infiltrated SAMSUNG factories, would reveal human rights violations in SAMSUNG factories in China and South Korea.

Those reports denounce exploitation of children under sixteen, excessive working hours, lack of proper equipment putting employees in danger, as well as working conditions and accommodations incompatible with human dignity. Moreover, the use of benzene and methanol in the factories may have led to incurable diseases for several employees.

However, to build its image, SAMSUNG publishes many ethical commitments which guarantee the strict respect for workers’ rights throughout the production chain. The group even proudly states that it aims “to become one of the most ethical companies in the world”

The gap between these ethical commitments and the reality in factories as described by the NGOs is inacceptable and should be sanctioned.


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11 January 2018

Samsung targeted by French lawsuit amid alleged labor abuse

Author: Angela Charlton, Associated Press

Two French rights groups have filed a lawsuit against electronics giant Samsung, accusing it of misleading advertising because of alleged labor abuses at factories in China and South Korea.

...The unusual lawsuit filed Thursday in Paris court by groups Sherpa and ActionAid France names Samsung Global, the headquarters in Suwon, South Korea, and its French subsidiary. It is now up to the court to decide whether to take up the case.

It accuses Samsung of "deceptive trade practices," based on documents from China Labor Watch and others alleging violations including exploitation of children, excessive working hours and use of dangerous equipment and gases.

Samsung did not immediately comment.

...The groups argue that French consumers were among those deceived by Samsung's pledges of ethical treatment of workers, and therefore French courts can rule in the case. But they want to call attention to the problem beyond French borders.

...In South Korea...courts recently have begun to rule in favor of workers believed sickened by chemicals used in manufacturing. Many former Samsung workers have sought compensation or financial aid from the government or from Samsung for a possible occupational disease.

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