Samsung Electronics Majority Union Declares Indefinite Strike

Samsung Electronics Majority Union Declares Indefinite Strike
Samsung Electronics Majority Union Declares Indefinite Strike

A union representing tens of thousands of workers at South Korean giant Samsung Electronics said Wednesday it would extend its contract “unlimited” a three-day strike to force management to negotiate. Samsung Electronics is one of the world’s largest smartphone makers and one of the few producers of high-value memory cards used for artificial intelligence (AI).

“We declare a second unlimited general strike from July 10, after learning that the management was not willing to discuss following the first general strike,” Samsung Electronics’ national union said in a statement.

More than 5,000 workers walked off the job Monday for what was supposed to be a three-day strike after lengthy negotiations over wages and benefits broke down. The move followed a one-day walkout in June, the first such strike at the company that has been union-free for decades. Samsung Electronics’ national union has more than 30,000 members, more than a fifth of the company’s total workforce.

“The management will eventually kneel”

Samsung told AFP on Wednesday that the strike would not affect production. “Samsung Electronics will ensure that no disruption occurs on production lines,” a spokesperson told AFP. “The company remains engaged in good faith negotiations with the union.”

But the union has confirmed a “obvious disruption to production.” “The longer the strike lasts, the more management will suffer and will eventually kneel down and sit at the negotiating table. We are confident of victory,” he said.

The union accused Samsung management of making « obstruction » to the strike, saying she did not seem willing to engage in dialogue. “Your determination is needed to advance our goals and our victory. Let us join forces to protect our rights and create a better future,” he hammered home, calling on employees to join the movement, in particular “those who still hesitate.”

Management at the company, the world’s largest producer of memory chips, has been in wage negotiations with the union since January, but the two sides have failed to reach an agreement. Workers rejected an offer of a 5.1% pay rise, while the union is also demanding improved annual leave and transparency on performance-based bonuses.

The first day of a three-day strike outside Samsung Electronics headquarters on Monday, July 8, in Hwaseong, South Korea. | JUNG YEON-JE / AFP
View in full screen
The first day of a three-day strike outside Samsung Electronics headquarters on Monday, July 8, in Hwaseong, South Korea. | JUNG YEON-JE / AFP

Semiconductors, the country’s main export product

For nearly 50 years, the company has prevented its employees from unionizing, sometimes using violent methods, according to its critics. The company’s founder, Lee Byung-chul, who died in 1987, was adamantly opposed to unions, saying he would never allow them. “until I have dust in my eyes.” Samsung Electronics’ first union was formed in the late 2010s.

Samsung Electronics is the flagship unit of Samsung Group, the largest of the family-owned conglomerates that dominate Asia’s fourth-largest economy. It said last week it expected second-quarter operating profit to rise 15-fold from a year earlier, helped by a rebound in chip prices and rising demand for its artificial intelligence products.

Semiconductors are now at the heart of the global economy, used in everything from household appliances to cell phones to cars to weapons. The chips are South Korea’s top export, earning the country $11.7 billion in March, the highest level in nearly two years. That’s one-fifth of the country’s total exports.

-

-

PREV New alliance transforms the future of Volkswagen electric cars
NEXT Many French people have not received this aid, it must be requested as soon as possible