Underwear Factory Fined For Underage Worker’s Death

April 25, 2016 – An underwear factory has been punished for the sudden death of an underage worker in Foshan City, Guangzhou Province in south China, but the public was unsatisfied with the light fines.

According to the local labor security department, the factory reached a consensus with the dead boy’s family and paid the latter 150,000 yuan (US$23,055) in compensation. The factory was also fined 10,000 yuan (US$1,537) by the authorities for employing an underage worker.

The dead boy, surnamed Wang, was born in June 2001 in central China’s Hunan Province. He was introduced into the Foshan Zhiya Underwear Company by his mother and worked as a sewing machine operator from March 5 to April 10. The 14-year-old was found dead around 6:00 a.m. on April 11 at home.

The boy’s family claimed that he had worked 11 to 12 hours every day before the tragedy, and the sudden death might be the result of the heavy work load.

An official of the Human Resources and Social Security Bureau of the Nanhai District of Foshan City said that the bureau had carried out an investigation into the case and found no evidence that the boy had worked overtime.

As for public doubt that the fines for the factory were too light, the official said the punishment was decided according to the law. The Provisions on the Prohibition of Child Labor stipulates that the employer of child labor shall be fined 5,000 yuan (US$768.5) per month for each of the children employed.

Further investigation will be carried out to check if the factory has committed any other violations of the law, the official said.

As Nanhai District is home to many factories engaged in labor-intensive industries, such as garment manufacturing and processing, the local authorities will make a special inspection regarding child labor from April 25.

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