Samsung employees go on 'indefinite' strike until better work conditions are met

By Jurassic JennJul 11, 2024 14:31 PMTech
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Samsung workers, South Korea
Samsung workers, South Korea. Source: https://www.france24.com/en/

Samsung Electronics, the tech giant based in South Korea, is facing an ongoing dispute with its largest labor union over issues of pay and bonuses, prompting the workers to undertake an indefinite strike. The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU), representing approximately 31,000 employees, around a quarter of the company’s total workforce in the country, has initiated this major labor action after a three-day walkout failed to produce any resolutions. The recent strike, involving about 6,000 workers mainly from the semiconductor division, has further fueled tensions. This is reported by SSP.

NSEU has set the strike in motion from July 10, marking the most significant labor action in the 55-year history of Samsung. The union asserts that management's refusal to engage in negotiations will be deeply regretted. A post on their official website emphasizes that an extended strike will eventually lead to management reconsidering and initiating dialogue, expressed with confidence in achieving a favorable outcome. In response, Samsung Electronics has declared its commitment to engaging in good-faith negotiations and ensuring production lines operate without disruption.

However, Son Woomok, the union leader, has estimated that restoring facilities disrupted by the strike will be a time-consuming process. The discontent initially arose in June when the union staged a one-day strike demanding transparent pay structures and improved working conditions.

While Samsung faced difficulties due to the global pandemic, including a chip shortage and diminished consumer demand, the company is now anticipating a resurgence with the growth of artificial intelligence (AI). Samsung Electronics foresees an upswing in demand for mobile devices, particularly with the launch of AI-powered smartphones and has predicted a more than 15-fold increase in second-quarter operating profits compared to last year.

Aligned with this positive outlook, the striking workers are advocating for their fair share of the company's success. They express dissatisfaction with what they perceive as inadequate treatment from Samsung. Despite high operating profits, employees are dissatisfied with the persistent belief of the company being in a crisis situation for over a decade, which has hindered the growth of performance bonuses.

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