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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Samsung Electronics staff strike for the primary time ever

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Samsung Electronics staff went on a strike on Friday for the very first time within the firm’s historical past. The transfer comes at a time when the Korean company faces elevated competitors from different chipmakers, notably as demand for AI chips grows.

The Nationwide Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU), the biggest of the corporate’s a number of unions, referred to as for the one-day strike at Samsung’s Seoul workplace constructing as negotiations over pay bonuses and day without work hit a standstill. The New York Times reports that almost all of hanging staff come from Samsung’s chip division. (Samsung Electronics is technically solely a subsidiary comprising its client tech, home equipment, and semiconductor divisions; Samsung itself is a conglomerate that controls actual property, retail, insurance coverage, meals manufacturing, accommodations, and an entire lot extra.)

It’s unclear how lots of the NSEU’s roughly 28,400 members participated within the walkout. Even so, multiple outlets are reporting that the walkout is unlikely to have an effect on chip manufacturing or set off shortages. Union leaders told Bloomberg that additional actions are deliberate if administration refuses to have interaction.

That mentioned, the truth that it’s taking place in any respect is awkward timing for Samsung, notably resulting from tensions with the chipmaking portion of its enterprise.

Final yr, the division reported a 15 trillion received ($11 billion) loss, resulting in a 15-year low in operating profits. The present AI growth performed an enormous position within the large loss. Samsung has traditionally been the world chief in making high-bandwidth reminiscence chips — the type which are in demand proper now to energy next-gen generative AI options. Nonetheless, final yr’s decline was partly as a result of Samsung wasn’t ready for elevated demand, permitting native rival SK Hynix to take the top spot.

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South Korea isn’t any stranger to labor actions, however this strike can be important merely as a result of it’s Samsung. The corporate as an entire is answerable for roughly 20 percent of South Korea’s GDP. If Samsung sneezes, the entire nation will get a chilly. Moreover, Samsung has a decadeslong history of unlawful union busting. In 2020, Lee Jae-yong — then inheritor, now govt chair of Samsung Electronics — issued an apology and promised to finish the corporate’s “no-union administration” insurance policies. The way it handles the battle going ahead shall be a direct take a look at of that dedication.

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