Brazil, the country, wants $108 million from Samsung because their local factories are apparently horrible places to work. How bad is bad? According to The Verge, over 2,000 people have healthy problems because they work 15+ hour days, which often include 10 hours of standing. Kind of makes you not hate your office job for a soul sucking advertising firm, eh?
Why is Samsung even making their phones in Brazil? Because they have some of the highest import taxes in the world. That $600 Galaxy S4 is more like $1,100 over there, and people often resort to the gray market to buy illegally imported devices. With Samsung making some of their phones locally, they obviously don’t have to pay such high taxes. In case you’re wondering, yes, Apple does the same thing with iPhones and iPads.
What’s Samsung’s response to all this?
“Once we receive the complaint in question, we will conduct a thorough review and fully co-operate 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.”
If that’s not a bland corporate statement, I don’t know what is.
Update: This article from The Guardian reveals this isn’t Samsung’s first offense.
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.