Samsung Electronics will face an unprecedented strike on June 7; its union is planning its first-ever walkout over demands for higher wages.

Reuters reported that union officials made the announcement at a live-streamed press conference, with a banner reading, “We can no longer tolerate labour repression, union repression.”

(photo) REUTERS Image caption, National Samsung Electronics Union members held a rally last week. Image Source: Reuters
National Samsung Electronics Union members held a rally last week Image Source Reuters

Samsung Workers Push for Wage Hike and Earnings-Linked Bonus

The National Samsung Electronics Union announced plans for a one-day protest on June 7, urging all members to use their paid leave.

The Union, which has about 28,000 members, or more than a fifth of the company’s workforce, said that it also did not rule out the possibility of a full-scale strike in the future.

The union demands a 6.5% pay increase and a bonus linked to the company’s earnings.

During a live-streamed news conference, a union representative said, “We can’t stand persecution against labour unions anymore. We are declaring a strike in the face of the company’s neglect of labourers.”

Responding to the company’s decision to increase wages this year by 5.1%, the union has previously said that it wants an additional day of annual leave and transparent performance-based bonuses.

A union official defended the decision to take industrial action despite some parts of Samsung’s business underperforming. “The company has claimed they are facing a crisis for the past 10 years,” the official told reporters, adding that this should not be used as an excuse to ignore the union’s demands.

In addition, more than 2,000 unionised company workers gathered in Seoul last week to hold a rare rally to demand better wages.

The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) members hold banners that read "Respect labour" in front of the Samsung Electronics Seocho Building in Seoul, South Korea, May 24, 2024. REUTERS/Kim Soo-hyeon via Reuters
The National Samsung Electronics Union NSEU members hold banners that read Respect labour in front of the Samsung Electronics Seocho Building in Seoul South Korea May 24 2024 Image Source Kim Soo hyeon via Reuters

Samsung Responds to Union Demands Amid Strike Threats

Samsung Electronics management has been in talks with the union over wages since the beginning of 2023, but both parties have yet to strike a deal. Commenting on the union’s demands, Samsung Electronics says it will continue negotiating with the Union.

Prior to 2020, Samsung Group had a history of resisting worker unionisation. This stance came under fire in 2020 when the company faced public backlash due to its chairman’s prosecution for market manipulation and bribery. This public scrutiny is credited with paving the way for a more union-friendly environment at Samsung.

Image Source Deposit Photos

The potential Samsung Electronics union strike is a significant development for both the company’s labour relations and the broader South Korean tech industry. The outcome of the dispute will be closely watched, with implications for worker rights, production, and Samsung’s reputation. Whether a resolution is reached, or a strike unfolds, this event will likely have lasting effects.

 

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