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Samsung union in South Korea declares indefinite strike

July 10, 2024

The union said management did not seem willing to discuss workers' demands, including a 3.5% pay rise to reflect inflation. Samsung has insisted that the labor action would not cause disruptions in production.

South Korean workers' protest during Samsung strike
South Korean workers are striking to disrupt Samsung productionImage: Soo-hyeon Kim/REUTERS

A union representing workers at Samsung Electronics in South Korea said on Wednesday it would continue striking "indefinitely."

The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) had previously declared a three-day strike. The labor action is the largest in the tech giant's history.

It comes after the firm predicted a substantial second-quarter operating increase.

What do we know about the strike?

The NSEU said it decided to extend the strike because management had shown no indication of willingness to hold talks.

The union said it had revised demands to include a 3.5% increase in base salary and a day off to mark the NSEU's founding.

NSEU vice president Lee Hyun-kuk Lee told Reuters news agency that management had offered a 3% rise but the union considered its demands reflected inflation better.

Samsung workers wearing red headbands raise fists during strike
The NSEU urged 'hesitant' workers to join the over 5,000 Samsung employees involved in the strikeImage: Soo-hyeon Kim/REUTERS

The NSEU has around 30,000 members, which amounts to nearly a quarter of Samsung's South Korean workforce.

Over 5,000 Samsung employees have been involved on Monday, according to the union. The NSEU urged more workers to join the labor action, including "those who are hesitant."

"Your determination is needed to advance our goals and victory. Let us unite our strength to protect our rights and create a better future," the union said.

Samsung insists strike won't affect production

Samsung told the AFP news agency that the union's labor action wouldn't cause disruptions in the production process.

"Samsung Electronics will ensure no disruptions occur in the production lines," a Samsung spokesperson said.

"The company remains committed to engaging in good faith negotiations with the union."

Meanwhile, Lee told Reuters that the union found that the strike had disrupted production on certain chip lines.

"Eventually, they will kneel and come to the negotiation table. We are confident of victory," the union said in a statement.

sdi/wmr (AFP, Reuters)