Samsung Electronics union says strike’s scale will disrupt chip production

Posted on : 2024-07-09 18:04 KST Modified on : 2024-07-09 18:20 KST
The National Samsung Electronics Union said that 6,540 members were participating in the three-day strike, which began on Monday
Members of the National Samsung Electronics Union raise their fists as they sing labor songs as they kick off their strike outside the main gate of the company’s Hwaseong plant on July 8, 2024. (Kim Yeong-won/Hankyoreh)
Members of the National Samsung Electronics Union raise their fists as they sing labor songs as they kick off their strike outside the main gate of the company’s Hwaseong plant on July 8, 2024. (Kim Yeong-won/Hankyoreh)

The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) announced that 6,540 members had participated in the first day of a three-day strike on Monday. 

The union also said most of the strike participants were employed in areas directly related to semiconductor production, raising questions over whether this will lead to tangible production disruptions.

In a general strike resolution meeting held Monday morning in front of Samsung Electronics’ campus in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, the union said 6,540 members were participating in the general strike.

According to the union, the number included 5,211 employed in the equipment, manufacturing and development processes, with 4,477 taking part from the company’s Giheung, Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek campuses, which boast semiconductor production lines.

Since declaring plans for the general strike on July 2, the NSEU had been surveying its members on whether they would be taking part. The numbers announced by the union appeared to be based on those findings.

With Samsung Electronics employing around 125,000 workers, the number of strike participants announced by the NSEU amounted to just over 5% of the total. But observers predicted setbacks for all processes if just one out of the various stages of semiconductor production processes accounted for a particularly large number of participants.

Citing the fact that many union members associated with semiconductor production were taking part in the strike, NSEU Vice President Lee Hyun-kuk predicted, “There may have been some production setbacks resulting from the strike.”

By NSEU estimates, around 4,000 members attended the resolution meeting, which took place amid heavy rain.

In a rallying cry message, NSEU President Son Woo-mok said, “There may be some internally or externally who hold a negative view on the general strike, but we are gathered here out of a now-or-never sense of urgency.”

“For over ten years, the company has been playing up its ‘crisis situation’ to reduce benefits, disregard justified wage increases, and force sacrifices on its employees,” he stressed.

“We are speaking out for rational wage hikes, transparent improvements to the performance-based pay system, and a restoration of the reduced benefits to their original state,” he explained.

“Today’s general strike is just the beginning,” he also said, adding that participants would “not be reporting to work or accepting any work-related communications through July 10.”

The NSEU also stated that it had a total of 30,657 members as of Monday morning. Having been counted at around 10,000 as of late 2023, the number of employees joining the union skyrocketed after workers in the device solutions division did not receive bonuses.

After surpassing 28,000 in May, the membership appears to have continued rising past the 30,000 mark even after the union began carrying out industrial actions in earnest.

By Kim Hae-jeong, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

 

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