Samsung Faces First-Ever Strike as Labor Talks Collapse

May 30, 2024 – The National Union of Samsung Electronics Workers in Korea has announced a breakdown in labor negotiations with the tech giant, leading to a historic decision to stage the first-ever strike in Samsung Electronics’ 55-year history on June 7th.

As the largest labor union within Samsung Electronics, the National Union boasts a membership of 28,400 employees, accounting for approximately 22% of the company’s total workforce.

Representatives from the Union cite the company’s “disregard for the union” as the primary reason behind their decision to take industrial action.

Interestingly, the timing of the strike is strategic yet relatively mild, given that June 6th is a national holiday in Korea known as Memorial Day, and June 7th falls on a Friday. Many employees would naturally choose to use their annual leave on June 7th to create a four-day weekend.

With an average annual salary of 120 million Korean won in 2023, Samsung Electronics employees are among the highest-paid in the country. However, the Union is not satisfied with the recent 5.1% average wage increase agreed upon by Samsung and the Labor-Management Consultation Committee. The Union views this increase as insufficient and demands a raise to 6.5%.

Another key point of contention in the negotiations is Samsung’s performance bonus system. The Union demands that the company adjust its performance bonus calculation from Economic Value Added (EVA) to Operating Profit, aligning it with other major Korean electronics companies like SK Hynix and LG Electronics.

The majority of the Union’s members come from Samsung Electronics’ DS division, which suffered losses last year, resulting in no performance bonuses for its employees. This has added fuel to the fire, with the Union determined to fight for better wages and bonus structures for its members.

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