Investigation Reveals Child Labor in Hyundai-Kia Alabama Supply Chain

Investigation Reveals Child Labor in Hyundai-Kia Alabama Supply Chain

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According to an exclusive report by ReutersFour key suppliers from Alabama Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp. used child labor.

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Although the companies claim they did not hire minors, Reuters reports that this is not the first time that these Alabama-based suppliers have been investigated. Child labor practices.

Reuters cited sources who worked for parts manufacturer Ajin Industrial Co. and claimed that the company employed up to 10 minors in one Alabama factory in Cusseta. SL Alabama, a Hyundai supplier, reportedly used minors to violate child labor laws, with some as young as 13. Reuters notes that there have been previous reports about SL Alabama. However, the allegations regarding Hwashin or Ajin are brand new. This suggests that the issue is much more serious than child welfare agencies knew and has not been adequately addressed.

Employees claim that minors as young 16 years old have worked in Alabama factories for Hyundai’s suppliers. They were involved in welding and even operating forklifts. Alabama and the United States Children under 16 years old cannot work in automobile plants. Those under 18 should not work in potentially hazardous areas.

Hyundai Kia They have established policies that prohibit child labor at their plants as well as those of their suppliers. Hyundai’s chief operating office stated that the company would immediately cease business with SL and conduct an investigation into all its Alabama operations. This could include terminating work with outside employment agencies. Later, the company retracted this statement, only to say that it would cut ties with less reliable staffing outfits.

Labor Experts believe that Hyundai and Kia pressure on suppliers to meet deadlines and avoid late delivery penalties could have led to child labor and other shortcuts. Delays in delivering parts can lead to high costs. The COVID-19 pandemic may have had an impact on supply chains, which could have contributed to the proliferation of violations.

Terri Gerstein, who is the director of the state and local enforcement program at Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program agrees. COVID Reuters interviewed him about his role. Low union density. There is not enough regulation enforcement. Staffing agencies are used.

According to Reuters, SL Alabama is the only Hyundai or Kia supplier to have been charged with violating child labor laws. Seventeen- to sixteen-year-olds were among the seven people found working at the facility by state and local officials. Labor Department A $30,000 fine was imposed. Alabama’s Department of Labor also issued a $30,000 fine to the company and a related employment agency.

This isn’t just a problem with child labor. Reuters reports that ongoing investigations are underway to determine if any children working for Hyundai or Kia suppliers were victims to human trafficking.

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