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The Korea Herald
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THE INVESTOR
July 14, 2024

Samsung

Unionized Samsung workers to stage 3-day walkout

  • PUBLISHED :July 02, 2024 - 16:39
  • UPDATED :July 02, 2024 - 16:39
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The Nationwide Samsung Electronics Union, the largest among multiple Samsung Electronics unions, demonstrates in front of the conglomerate's office in Seocho-gu, Seoul, May 24. (Newsis)

Unionized workers of Samsung Electronics have said they will stage a three-day walkout beginning July 8, as their negotiations with management over wages and working conditions have so far failed.

The National Samsung Electronics Union, the largest among multiple Samsung Electronics unions with some 28,400 workers, or 22 percent of the total workforce, announced the decision on Monday evening livestreaming on YouTube.

“Any further peaceful strike is meaningless,” said Son Woo-mok, president of the NSEU. “We’ll fight with a full strike, without pay and work, until our demands are met.”

The NSEU met with Jun Young-hyun, the new head of the tech giant’s semiconductors business, requesting a one-day vacation for all employees and a significant salary raise for 855 union members who did not sign the salary negotiation. However, management did not accept the request, the unionized workers said in explaining the reason for the general strike.

It is unclear how many workers would participate in the three-day walkout, and the likelihood of major production disruptions is likely low.

There has been much criticism from both inside and outside of Samsung regarding the NSEU's declaration of a general strike. During negotiations, the union presented conditions that were difficult for the management to accept, such as demanding “additional wage increases” only for certain employees. This led to evaluations of “union selfishness,” as they made excessive demands without considering the weakened business competitiveness of the company.

Since January, the two sides have held several talks, but have been unable to narrow their differences over wage increases, the vacation system and bonuses.

The union also demanded the company offer more paid leave and compensate for economic losses incurred during unpaid strikes.

The two sides resumed talks on June 13 after some union workers took a single day off on June 7, marking the first strike in the company’s 55-year history.

The company has historically set pay increases through a council consisting of representatives from both sides. In March that labor-management council agreed to increase this year’s pay by 5.1 percent, representing a 3 percent basic pay increase and 2.1 percent performance raise. But that agreement was later called off because of differences over paid leave and bonus payments.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)

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