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Samsung Faces First-Ever Strike Threat in History As Union Demands Grow

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(CTN News) – In a historic move that could disrupt global semiconductor supply chains, Samsung Electronics is on the brink of experiencing its first strike, as announced by a major union on Wednesday.

The strike, scheduled for June 7, threatens to involve 20% of the company’s workforce, approximately 28,000 employees, marking a significant escalation in the ongoing dispute over wages and working conditions.

The National Samsung Electronics Union, representing tens of thousands of workers at the South Korean tech giant, disclosed their plans during a livestreamed news conference.

The union members intend to utilize annual leave for the one-day strike, with potential for a broader general strike if negotiations with management continue to stall.

“We are declaring a strike in the face of the company’s neglect of laborers,” a union spokesperson declared, highlighting the union’s frustration with the management’s handling of negotiations since January.

Despite accepting the company’s proposed pay raise, the union is pushing for additional demands, including an extra holiday and a transparent performance bonus system based on sales profit.

Samsung’s Historic Labor Struggle: Unionization Challenges Tech Giant

Samsung, known as the world’s largest producer of memory chips and a major player in the smartphone industry, has historically avoided unionization efforts, employing controversial tactics to deter labor organizing.

However, the landscape shifted in 2019 under the left-leaning government of President Moon Jae-in, which provided an opening for unionization amid other controversies.

“The company is not hearing us and they are not communicating,” union president Son Woo-mok lamented, emphasizing the breakdown in dialogue with management.

This sentiment was echoed by a Samsung official who affirmed the company’s commitment to ongoing dialogue with the labor union.

Experts warn of potential widespread impacts from the strike, particularly in the semiconductor sector.

“Having 20% of its workforce on strike will significantly impact the company as a whole, especially at a time when it needs to act quickly in the ever-evolving semiconductor industry,” remarked Kim Dae-jong, a business professor at Sejong University.

Samsung Electronics, a flagship subsidiary of the South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group, has historically wielded substantial influence in the global tech market, producing components critical to high-end AI hardware and smartphones.

The strike, if prolonged, could pose challenges to the company’s operations and supply chain management, potentially affecting key global semiconductor supply chains.

The union’s decision to strike represents a turning point in Samsung’s labor relations, signifying a new era of employee activism and potentially reshaping how the tech giant approaches labor issues in the future.

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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