Sunday, July 21, 2024

Samsung Electronics union goes on indefinite strike

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A union representing workers at South Korean technology giant Samsung Electronics has called on its roughly 30,000 members to go on strike indefinitely, as part of its campaign for better pay and benefits.

The announcement came on the last day of a three-day general strike being held by the National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU).

The union said it had made the decision after management showed no intention of holding talks over its demands.

The NSEU, which represents nearly a quarter of Samsung Electronics’ workers in South Korea, said its actions had disrupted production. Samsung has disputed these claims.

“Samsung Electronics will ensure no disruptions occur in the production lines. The company remains committed to engaging in good faith negotiations with the union,” the firm told BBC News.

However, the union said: “The company has no intention to engage in a dialogue even after the first general strike, thus we declare a second general strike starting from July 10th, lasting indefinitely.”

The NSEU said about 6,500 workers have been taking part in the strike so far and called on more of its members to join the industrial action.

A spokesperson for Samsung Electronics declined to comment on how many workers had joined the walkout.

A protest on Monday was attended by around 3,000 people.

“In our view, there will be no production disruption,” Jung In Yun, from Fibonacci Asset Management Global told BBC News.

Last month, the union staged the first walkout at the company since it was founded five and a half decades ago.

Samsung Electronics is the world’s largest maker of memory chips, smartphones and televisions.

It is the flagship unit of South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group.

The firm is also the biggest of the family-controlled businesses that dominate Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

Samsung Group was known for not allowing unions to represent its workers until 2020, when the company came under intense public scrutiny after its chairman was prosecuted for market manipulation and bribery.

After the NSEU announcement, the company’s shares were trading flat to slightly lower on the Korea Stock Exchange.

Last week, Samsung Electronics said it expects its profits for the three months to June 2024 to jump 15-fold compared to the same period last year.

A boom in artificial intelligence (AI) technology has lifted the prices of advanced chips, driving up the firm’s forecast for the second quarter.

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