China Central Television (CCTV) - Labor prosecutors in northern Brazil's Amazonas state said Wednesday they are lodging a lawsuit against South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. for poor working conditions, and demanding 250 million Brazilian reais (115 million U.S. dollars) in compensation.
The lawsuit follows complaints filed by employees at the company's plant in the Free Economic Zone of Manaus in the state, including health problems from working standing up for up to 10 hours and repetitive-movement injuries.
"Sometimes I have to work more than 10 hours from 20:00 to 07:00 the next day instead of 05:40 as stipulated in the contract. Although the company promises the call-back pay, I still have to work overtime even if I don't want to," said Erick, an employee.
"The case is that if an employee falls asleep due to illness while working at the production line, the company will not take measures to treat him or let him rest, but only let him drink some water and ask him to continue with his work," Erick added.
According to the lawsuit, Samsung has received 162 citations on lack of safety standards and poor workplace conditions since 1996. In 2012 alone, Samsung was informed of 2,018 cases of employees who had to suspend working due to muscular-skeletal injuries and other labor-related afflictions.
An investigation by the Labor Ministry showed via photographic and video evidence that workers were expected, for example, to assemble a television set in 65 seconds, which requires between 87 and 96 movements per minute, or more than medically recommended.
The ministry is also demanding Samsung provide employees with a 10-minute break per hour worked, and re-adapt work stations so employees can work sitting down.
In a statement on Wednesday, Samsung said it had not been notified of the case, but was willing to cooperate with the Brazilian authorities to offer "a working environment that guarantees the highest industrial standards on safety, health and well being."
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