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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Samsung. The first strike in the giant's history

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Employees of the technology giant Samsung Electronics, associated with the largest trade union, went on a one-day strike on Friday – the first since the company was founded in 1969. Trade unionists demanded an increase in wages and profit bonuses.

“The coordinated use of leave is our first step towards the ultimate goal of a large-scale strike,” said Lee Hyun-guk, deputy head of the National Samsung Electronics Trade Union (NSEU).

This association has over 28,000 members. members, i.e. 22 percent all employees of Samsung Electronics, the world's largest manufacturer of memory chips, smartphones and TVs. NSEU did not disclose the number of people who, as it was emphasized, voluntarily joined the protest.

Conversations with Samsung management

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Negotiations between the company's management and five trade unions have been ongoing since January. In March, the management board announced that it had agreed with employees to an average salary increase of 5.1%. this year.

NSEU trade unionists say they will accept this scale of increases, instead of the initially assumed 6.5 percent, provided they receive larger performance-based bonuses and an additional day off.

In recent weeks, workers have staged pickets outside the company's offices in Seoul, as well as a chip plant in Hwaseong, south of the capital.

The first strike in history by Samsung employeesEPAP/EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

“The strike declaration will not affect the production of memory”

As noted by the Yonhap agency, due to the fact that the day for which the strike is planned falls between Memorial Day on Thursday and the weekend, many employees have already planned time off in advance, although the rate of leave use is still slightly lower than last year, so it is not Friday's action is expected to hit the company's performance.

– The strike declaration will not affect the production of D-RAM and NAND flash memory, nor will it cause a supply shortage – says an expert from the Taiwanese market research company TrendForce, quoted by the agency, who emphasizes that production is highly automated anyway.

Yonhap also notes that Thursday marked 31 years since the establishment of the so-called new management manifesto in which the late Samsung CEO Lee Kun-hee said: “change everything except your wives and children.” His criticism of the company's managers and engineers transformed Samsung Electronics from a small television manufacturer into a consumer electronics giant.

The first strike in history by Samsung employeesPAP/EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

Samsung is in decline

The escalating dispute between the management and the unions coincides with the company's poor results and problems in the semiconductor sector.

Last year, Samsung Electronics, the world's largest chipmaker, reported an annual loss of 15 trillion won ($11 billion) in the semiconductor sector alone due to falling demand for IT products.

Samsung Electronics prevented its employees from unionizing for decades until 2020.

Main photo source: EPAP/EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

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