Hyundai, Kia auto parts supplier in Alabama fined for child labour violations



Authorities discovered kids as younger as 13 working at a Korean-operated parts supplier to automakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp., and have fined the corporate and a labour recruiter, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Alabama Department of Labor stated on Tuesday.

In August, authorities accused Alexander City, Alabama-based SL Alabama in federal courtroom of violating child labour legal guidelines.

The motion towards SL Alabama, which provides lights and mirrors for Hyundai and Kia meeting vegetation in the U.S. South, got here following a July Reuters article that documented child labour practices at one other auto parts supplier in the state, Hyundai-owned SMART Alabama LLC.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) stated in a launch that staff aged 13-15 have been discovered on the SL Alabama plant and stated it had fined the corporate, a unit of Korea’s SL Corp 005850.KS, round $30,000.

SL Alabama agreed to implement new monitoring and coaching packages, the federal regulator stated. DOL stated it additionally obtained a courtroom order to forestall the plant from “shipping or delivering” any items produced in violation of federal child labour legal guidelines.

“Our investigation discovered SL Alabama engaged in oppressive child labour,” stated Kenneth Stripling, DOL’s Wage and Hours Division Director in Birmingham, Alabama, in the assertion.

In a separate assertion on Tuesday, Alabama’s state DOL stated it had levied round $35,000 in whole in civil penalties on SL Alabama and JK USA, a brief labour recruiting agency. JK USA employed 5 minors between the ages of 13 and 16 on the plant, the state DOL stated.

Earlier protection by Reuters helped to attract regulators’ scrutiny to the broader community of Korean-operated automotive vegetation in Alabama that produce parts that Hyundai and its sister firm Kia use at their flagship U.S. automobile vegetation in Alabama and Georgia.

SL Alabama instructed Reuters in an announcement {that a} staffing company had furnished some workers to the plant who weren’t sufficiently old to work there. SL stated it had cooperated with regulators, terminated its relationship with the staffing agency, agreed to fines and different corrective actions, and changed the president of the ability.

SL “has by no means knowingly employed minors to work at any of its services,” the corporate stated. JK USA didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Regulators stated plant operators are accountable for child labour violations even when unauthorized workers are introduced in by third-party recruiting corporations.

“Employers are accountable for understanding who’s working in their services,” the DOL assertion stated.

Regulators didn’t accuse Hyundai and Kia of wrongdoing in the case.

Reporting by Mica Rosenberg and Joshua Schneyer in New York and Kristina Cooke in San Francisco. Editing by Matthew Lewis


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