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Samsung Electronics unions threaten first-ever strike over wage gap

Samsung Electronics unions threaten first-ever strike over wage gap
Samsung Electronics unions threaten first-ever strike over wage gap

Labor union workers of South Korean electronics behemoth, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., have reportedly threatened of holding a strike, first in the company's history, over unmet demand regarding higher wages and better working conditions.

Representatives of the unions held a rally near Samsung’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea after arbitrations between the workers and the management at the National Labor Relations Commission failed to reach an outcome earlier this week.

Union workers have called for the wage gaps among workers to be decreased, and the addition of better health benefits and more paid leaves.

Kim Hang-yeol, head of one of the four worker unions that represent Samsung Electronics workers, stated that with strike as one of the options, the unions will continue fighting to make sure of collective bargaining and wage negotiations with all unions of Samsung affiliates, and not just Samsung Electronics.

Union officials have asked for a direct meeting with the top executives for now, being wary of public sentiment amid increasing discontent in pay inequity and working conditions.

Lee Hyun-kuk, another union head, stated that the unions do not want to strike at the (semiconductor) chip line, as stopping a chip line would label them as a public enemy. It is not known how many union members are in Samsung Electronics’ chip division.

The impact of the strike on the group’s operations cannot be ascertained, however, as even the largest of the four unions, the National Samsung Electronics Union, only has about 4% of total Korean employees, around 4,500 of the total 114,373.

In a statement, the company has said that it is continually engaging in dialogue with the four unions and ensuring its sincere efforts in reaching an agreement.

Yonsei University Professor of Economics, Taeyoon Sung, stated that the firm, which had not been affected by union activities earlier, needs to view them as partners, adding that it will be difficult for unions to strike as it might leave a negative impact on strong labor responses.

Founded in 1969, the electronics division of Samsung Group, Samsung Electronics, had avoided unionization until the late 2010s.

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Vinisha Joshi

Vinisha Joshi

Despite graduating with an engineering degree in electronics and communication, Vinisha Joshi chose the road less travelled, and decided to pursue her career in content writing . Currently, she pens down articles for and a few other distinguished news platforms, pertaining to business and finance.