Hyundai to break ties with two suppliers over child labor issues

Global CEO told Reuters of plans to break relationships

Hyundai global CEO Jose Munoz has told international press agency Reuters that it plans to break off working relationships with two Alabama suppliers that have been accused of using child labor.

Reuters originally broke the story about metal stamping plant SMART Alabama, in Luverne, employing children as young as 12. When the state Department of Labor began checking allegations, it also focused on another supplier, SL Alabama.

Munoz said that Hyundai will break off working relationships with the two firms “as soon as possible.”

Munoz also told the press agency that his firm is checking all its U.S. auto parts suppliers. In addition, he said the firm will work toward direct hiring, rather than relying on third-party labor suppliers.

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Reuters wrote: “Munoz’s comments represent the Korean automotive giant’s most substantive public acknowledgment to date that child labor violations may have occurred in its U.S. supply chain, a network of dozens of mostly Korean-owned auto-parts plants that supply Hyundai’s massive vehicle assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama.”

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama operates a $1.8 billion plant in Montgomery, one of the leading firms in Alabama’s young automotive cluster that has transformed the state’s economy.

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