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 by employees at the company's plant in the Free Economic Zone of Manaus in northwest Brazil, including health problems from working standing up for up to 10 hours and repetitive-movement injuries.
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 injures 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 to readapt work stations so employees can work sitting down.
In a statement, 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."