“No pay, no work”: a Samsung union declares strike

It’s on: workers from a Samsung Electronics union have declared a general strike!

The first day of July 2024 brings tension in South Korea as Samsung Electronics’ union announces its workers will strike until its requests for enhanced compensation and additional time off were addressed.

This is from a Reuters report that tells the latest actions by the National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU).

The NSEU represents approximately 28,000 members, which constitute more than 20% of the company’s workforce. It seeks commitments from Samsung Electronics, such as improvements to the performance-based bonus system and an additional day of annual leave.

“We are declaring a general strike today” stated Son Woo-mok, president of NSEU, during a live YouTube broadcast and added the following:

So far, Samsung Electronics did not disclose specifics regarding the strike’s anticipated duration.

There was a one-day strike in June

In a landmark event, a workers’ union at Samsung Electronics staged its inaugural strike in the beginning of June, highlighting employees’ increasing assertiveness amid the company’s push to advance in AI chip technology. The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) organized the one-day strike to demand improved wages.Although the walkout wasn’t expected to immediately affect semiconductor production or shipments, it adds pressure on Samsung Electronics as it ramps up efforts in AI and closes the gap in contract chip manufacturing with Taiwan’s TSMC.

Samsung Electronics stated that production and business operations remained unaffected, noting that the strike coincided with a public holiday and saw fewer employees taking annual leave compared to the same day last year. The union did not disclose how many members participated in the strike by using their annual leave.

Market research firm TrendForce indicated that the strike was unlikely to disrupt DRAM or NAND flash memory production or cause shipment shortages due to high levels of automation in manufacturing. The strike primarily involved more employees from Samsung’s Seoul headquarters than from its production facilities and was planned for just one day.

This one-day strike follows recent protests by workers outside Samsung offices in Seoul and a chip production site in Hwaseong, south of the capital. These protests arose after Samsung Electronics decided to raise wages by 5.1% this year. Prior to that, a coalition of unions at Samsung affiliates, including another smaller Samsung Electronics union, urged the NSEU to prioritize negotiation over confrontation, signaling their decision not to participate in the strike.

Samsung Electronics is facing challenges in its semiconductor business, having recently replaced the head of its semiconductor unit to address what it described as an industry “crisis”.

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