Samsung faces Brazil lawsuit over labor conditions

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics Co. is facing a lawsuit from Brazil’s government seeking damages over poor working conditions on the company’s assembly lines, prosecutors said.

Labor prosecutors in the northern Brazilian state of Amazonas said they are suing Samsung for 250 million reals ($108 million) because its plant in the industrial center of the state capital of Manaus has been exposing employees to risks of illnesses due to intense, repetitive work.

The Manaus plant is the largest of the 25 factories the company has around the world. It has nearly 6,000 workers and supplies all of Latin America with smartphones and other electronic goods.

Samsung said Wednesday it will cooperate with Brazilian authorities.

“Once we receive the complaint in question, we will conduct a thorough review and fully cooperate with the Brazilian authorities. We take great care to provide a workplace environment that assures the highest industry standards of health, safety, and welfare for our employees across the world,” it said in a statement.

Prosecutors said that Samsung came under investigation after Brazil’s Labor Ministry verified that workers perform three times more movements per minute than what is considered safe by ergonomic studies. They said in a statement that many employees work up to 10 hours a day while standing, and more than 2,000 workers suffered from health problems such as back injuries in 2012 that were related to working conditions.

Samsung, the world’s largest maker of smartphones, memory chips and LCD display panels, was prosecuted in Brazil in 2011 over poor working conditions and paid a settlement of about $200,000.

It has also been accused of hiring children in China and faced a flurry of lawsuits in South Korea from workers seeking compensation for health hazards at its factories.

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Associated Press writer Marco Sibaja in Brasilia, Brazil, contributed to this report.

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