Samsung’s labour union vows to stage the first-ever strike in protest of salaries


Samsung’s labour union vows to stage the first-ever strike in protest of salaries

Next week, a South Korean Samsung’s labour union will stage its first-ever walkout in protest over pay demands, according to union leaders, who made the announcement on Wednesday.

As part of larger protest actions, the National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU), which has around 28,000 members—more than a fifth of the company’s workforce—announced that it will suspend operations for one day on June 7.

At a news conference that was broadcast live, union representatives made the declaration while waving a banner that said, “We can no longer tolerate labor repression, union repression.”

Next week, if all union members take a day off together,it would mark the first ever walkout by South Korean workers at the world’s top memory chipmaker.

In recent weeks, employees have staged sporadic protests outside the company’s headquarters in Seoul, the nation’s capital, and its chip manufacturing facility in Hwaseong, south of Seoul.

Samsung's labour union

In response to the company’s plan to raise pay by 5.1% this year, the union had earlier stated that it desired transparent performance-based bonuses in addition to an extra day of yearly leave.

The tech company was accused by the union on Wednesday of neglecting to present a compromise plan during the day’s talks.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Samsung Electronics declared, “We will sincerely engage in discussions with the union.”

Union representatives justified the choice to launch strike action when Samsung’s business is experiencing underperformance in certain areas.

Son Woo-mok, the president of NSEU, told reporters, “The company has been saying they are facing crisis all along for the past 10 years,” but he also cautioned against the company using this as an excuse to avoid meeting requests.

The union said that its June 7 strike would have an impact on every firm site in South Korea. Of the five labor unions at the South Korean IT behemoth, NSEU is the largest. It’s unclear if other, smaller unions want to follow suit.

In response to the planned walkout on Wednesday, a group of five unions at Samsung affiliates—including one at Samsung Electronics—questioned the rationale behind the proposal and declared they would not support it.

In a statement, the coalition said that rather than attempting to better the working conditions at the IT company, it seemed to be a part of efforts to join a combative umbrella union.

The announcement of the strike comes at a time when Samsung, one of the largest chip and smartphone manufacturers globally, seems to be struggling in a few areas, including the development of cutting-edge semiconductor devices.

Samsung said that a new leader was required to steer the company through what it dubbed a “crisis” that was impacting the semiconductor business when it replaced the head of its semiconductor division last week.

At a rare demonstration last week in Seoul, about 2,000 unionized employees of the massive South Korean technology company came to demand higher pay.

Following Samsung Electronics’ 2020 vow to discontinue its policies of impeding the expansion of organized labor, union membership has rapidly expanded.

According to analysts, the increase in union membership is a reflection of employees’ dissatisfaction with Samsung’s recent decline in competitiveness in industries like high bandwidth memory (HBM) semiconductors and legal problems the tech giant is facing.

In one instance, the business is fighting an appeal filed by the prosecution of a ruling that acquitted chairman of Samsung Electronics Jay Y. Lee of fraud and other offenses pertaining to a 2015 merger of Samsung businesses.

Samsung Electronics’ stock had a 3.1% decline at the closing on Wednesday, while the benchmark KOSPI saw a 1.7% decline.

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