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Samsung workers begin three-day strike over salary

Employees at South Korean tech big Samsung started a three-day common strike on Monday over wages and advantages, the top of a union representing tens of hundreds of staff instructed AFP. The union warned the motion might have an effect on reminiscence chip manufacturing.

Samsung Electronics is the world’s largest reminiscence chip producer and is answerable for a good portion of the worldwide manufacturing of high-end chips.

1000’s of staff, wearing raincoats and carrying ribbons studying “struggle with solidarity,” gathered outdoors the corporate’s foundry and semiconductor plant in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, an hour south of Seoul.

Samsung administration has been negotiating with the union since January. Each side have didn’t slender the hole in advantages and the corporate has rejected a 5.1 p.c wage enhance.

“The strike began at present,” Son Woo-mok, head of the Nationwide Samsung Electronics Union, instructed AFP.

“At the moment’s common strike is only the start,” he added.

“To remind us why we’re right here, please don’t come to work till July tenth and don’t obtain enterprise calls,” he instructed the gang of staff.

In response to the union, about 5,200 folks from factories, manufacturing corporations and improvement organizations joined the protest.

“Do they nonetheless not assume it will have an effect on their manufacturing line?” mentioned Lee Hyun-kuk, vice-chairman of the union.

The union, which has greater than 30,000 members, or greater than a fifth of the corporate’s whole workforce, introduced a three-day common strike final week, saying it was a final resort after negotiations broke down.

The transfer follows a one-day strike in June, the primary collective motion on the firm, which went many years with out union membership.

“We at the moment are at a vital crossroads,” the union mentioned in an attraction despatched to members final week urging them to help the strike.

“This strike is the final card we will use,” the assertion mentioned, saying the corporate’s staff ought to act “as one man.”

“I am actually excited,” a union member and protester instructed AFP. “We’re making historical past.”

Employees rejected a proposal of a 5.1 p.c pay rise in March, regardless of the union beforehand demanding enhancements to annual depart and clear performance-related bonuses.

Samsung declined a request for remark.

“Though the strike will final solely three days, the taking part members additionally embrace individuals who work in chip meeting traces,” Sejong College enterprise professor Kim Dae-jong instructed AFP.

“Because the union might perform further strikes if the stalemate continues, this might pose a serious threat to Samsung’s administration within the race for dominance within the aggressive chip market.”

– Prevented unions –

Critics say Samsung Electronics has averted unionizing its staff for almost 50 years, generally utilizing brutal ways, as the corporate grew to turn into the world’s largest maker of smartphones and semiconductors.

The corporate’s founder, Lee Byung-chul, who died in 1987, was fiercely against unions, saying he would by no means permit them “till I’ve dust on my eyes.”

The primary union at Samsung Electronics was fashioned within the late 2010s.

The corporate is the primary subsidiary of South Korean big Samsung Group, the biggest family-owned conglomerate that dominates enterprise in Asia’s fourth-largest economic system.

The corporate just lately forecast a 15x enhance in working revenue within the second quarter, due to rising demand for generative AI.

Semiconductors are the lifeblood of the worldwide economic system, utilized in all the pieces from kitchen home equipment and cell telephones to automobiles and weapons.

And demand for the superior chips that energy synthetic intelligence programs has skyrocketed due to the success of ChatGPT and different generative AI merchandise.

Semiconductors are South Korea’s high export product, reaching $11.7 billion in March, the very best degree in almost two years. In response to figures from the Ministry of Commerce, semiconductors account for one-fifth of South Korea’s whole exports.


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