Workers' Union at Samsung Electronics in South Korea Continues Indefinite Strike

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Workers' Union at Samsung Electronics in South Korea Continues Indefinite Strike

The workers' union at Samsung Electronics in South Korea, represented by the National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU), has opted to escalate their protest by extending their strike indefinitely to advocate for improved compensation and benefits. The decision to prolong the strike came after the management showed no willingness to engage in discussions following the commencement of the strike on Monday.

According to Lee Hyun-kuk, the vice president of the union, the ongoing strike, initially intended to last three days, has now been extended due to the lack of communication from management since its initiation. The union, which comprises approximately a quarter of Samsung's South Korean workforce, highlighted that the strike has caused disruptions in certain chip production lines, affecting the efficiency of equipment operations. Despite Samsung's assurance that the strike has not impacted production in the first three days, the union continues to emphasize its commitment to advocating for its members' rights.

As tensions escalate between the union and management, Lee cited that around 6,500 workers have actively participated in the strike, and efforts are being made to encourage more members to join in solidarity. The union aims to be perceived as an equal negotiation partner, particularly as Samsung, a global leader in memory chip manufacturing, faces challenges in the competitive market for chips utilized in artificial intelligence applications. Additionally, union officials have refuted claims of low participation by stating that due to time constraints, they were unable to adequately educate members on labor issues, conducting training sessions to raise awareness among workers.

The union has revised its demands, seeking a 3.5% increase in base salary rather than the previously proposed 3%, alongside advocating for a day off to commemorate the union's founding instead of an additional day's annual leave. Despite management's initial offer, the union is pushing for a higher base salary increment to reflect inflation accurately. The strike's impact on production remains a point of contention, with analysts noting the difficulty in verifying disruptions without specific details from the union regarding processes and wafers affected. Samsung's stock price has experienced a minor decline as the strike continues, highlighting the significance of the ongoing labor dispute within the company.