South Korea-Threat of historic strike at Samsung Electronics

South Korea-Threat of historic strike at Samsung Electronics
South Korea-Threat of historic strike at Samsung Electronics

by Heekyong Yang and Hyunsu Yim

SEOUL, May 29 (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics could experience the first day of strike in its history next week after the group’s first union called on Wednesday to demonstrate to demand a wage increase.

The Samsung Electronics National Union (NSEU), which has some 28,000 members, or a fifth of the South Korean company’s employees, called for a one-day work stoppage on June 7.

The announcement was made by union representatives during a press conference broadcast online. A banner was displayed reading: “We cannot tolerate union repression any longer.”

Samsung Electronics employees have staged several protests outside the company’s offices in Seoul, the Korean capital, in recent weeks, but a one-day strike would be a first in the company’s history.

Faced with union demands, Samsung Electronics has proposed a 5.1% salary increase this year, but protesters are also demanding an additional day off and greater transparency on the allocation of bonuses based on performance.

The unions accused the “tech” giant on Wednesday of having failed to propose a compromise plan during negotiations held the day before.

“We will sincerely engage in union discussions,” the company responded.

The unions justified their decision to organize a one-day strike while the performances of the South Korean behemoth are declining.

“The company says it has been facing a crisis for ten years,” NSEU union president Son Woo-mok told reporters.

NSEU, South Korea’s largest company union, said the strike would affect all local Samsung Electronics sites, but questions remain about the participation of other minority federations.

A coalition of five unions has already announced that they will not participate in this day of walkout.

The Samsung group, one of the largest smartphone manufacturers and electronic chip manufacturer in the world, is suffering in several sectors, particularly in semiconductors.

The group replaced its leader at the head of the semiconductor unit last week to face the “crisis” affecting the sector.

More than 2,000 Samsung employees protested last week in Seoul to demand higher wages.

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim, Heekyong Yang and Ju-min Park; French version Zhifan Liu, editing by Kate Entringer)

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