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Samsung Electronics workers to stage a strike from July 8-10, according to a union official.

ByYasmeeta Oon

Jul 2, 2024

Samsung Electronics workers to stage a strike from July 8-10, according to a union official.

A workers’ union at Samsung Electronics in South Korea has announced a strike from July 8-10, as part of their increasing industrial action against the country’s most valuable company. The announcement was made by a union official on Tuesday, highlighting the union’s demands for a more transparent system for bonuses and time off, and for the company to treat it as an equal partner.

Son Woo-mok, the leader of the union, emphasized the union’s desire for better working conditions and recognition from the company. “We want Samsung to acknowledge us as equal partners and to implement a fair and transparent system for bonuses and time off,” Son said late on Monday.

Union membership at Samsung has surged since 2020 when the company pledged to stop discouraging the growth of organized labor. Despite the planned strike, Samsung’s share price remained unaffected, rising by 0.1% in morning trade, compared to a 0.7% decline in the benchmark price index.

The union is currently assessing how many workers will participate in the strike. According to analysts, the strike is unlikely to have a major impact on chip production due to the high level of automation in Samsung’s manufacturing processes. However, the extent of the impact will depend on the number of workers who operate the automated machines and how long they participate in the strike.

“Chip production cannot proceed with replacement workers if people who operate the automated machines walked out for a long time because of the specificity and expertise of the work,” said Kim Yang-Paeng, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade.

Last month, Samsung employees took collective annual leave on the same day in what was effectively the union’s first industrial action. At that time, Samsung reported no impact on production or business activities, as most of the striking workers were employed in inner-city offices rather than at manufacturing sites.

An anonymous Seoul-based analyst commented on the implications of the planned strike, suggesting it marks a significant shift in Samsung’s history of non-union management. “This planned strike could be seen as a drop in employee loyalty at Samsung, caused by wages and disappointing compensation compared to Samsung’s rivals,” the analyst said.

Key DemandDescription
Transparent Bonus SystemImplementation of a clear and fair system for awarding bonuses.
Equal PartnershipRecognition of the union as an equal partner in negotiations and decision-making.
Fair Time-Off PoliciesEstablishment of equitable policies for granting time off.
Improved Working ConditionsEnhancements in the overall working environment for employees.
Non-Discriminatory PracticesEnsuring no discrimination against union members or organized labor.

The union’s strategy appears to be aimed at increasing pressure on Samsung to address their grievances. The union’s leader, Son Woo-mok, has been vocal about the need for Samsung to change its approach towards its employees and adopt more inclusive and fair practices.

The strike, although not expected to cripple production, serves as a symbolic move by the union to assert its presence and demands. It also reflects a broader trend within South Korea, where workers are increasingly organizing and demanding better conditions and recognition from large corporations.

While the immediate impact on production may be minimal, the long-term implications for Samsung could be significant. Increased union activity and potential future strikes could lead to disruptions in production and affect Samsung’s reputation as a leading employer in the tech industry.

The company’s response to this strike and subsequent negotiations with the union will be closely watched by industry analysts and other companies in the region. How Samsung navigates this situation could set a precedent for labor relations in South Korea’s tech industry.

Samsung has so far declined to comment on the union’s strike plan. The company’s silence on the matter suggests that it may be carefully considering its next steps. The financial markets have shown little reaction to the news, with Samsung’s share price remaining stable.

Industry analysts are divided on the potential outcomes of the strike. Some believe that Samsung will eventually reach a compromise with the union to avoid further disruptions. Others are more skeptical, suggesting that the company may continue to resist the union’s demands, leading to prolonged industrial action.

In summary, the upcoming strike by Samsung Electronics’ workers’ union represents a critical moment in the company’s labor relations. As the union pushes for transparency and equal partnership, the outcome of this industrial action will likely have lasting effects on Samsung’s workforce and its position within the tech industry.

Featured Image courtesy of DALL-E by ChatGPT

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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