Tech giant Samsung workers to strike indefinitely

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A union representing workers at South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics has called on its approximately 30,000 members to go on an indefinite strike in their campaign for better pay and benefits.

This announcement was made on the final day of a three-day general strike organized by the National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU).

The union stated it made this decision after management showed no intention of holding talks over its demands. The NSEU, which represents nearly a quarter of Samsung Electronics’ workforce in South Korea, claimed its actions had disrupted production—a claim Samsung has disputed.

“Samsung Electronics will ensure no disruptions occur in the production lines. The company remains committed to engaging in good faith negotiations with the union,” Samsung told BBC News.

However, the union responded: “The company has no intention to engage in a dialogue even after the first general strike, thus we declare a second general strike starting from July 10th, lasting indefinitely.”

The NSEU said about 6,500 workers have participated in the strike so far and urged more of its members to join the industrial action. A spokesperson for Samsung Electronics declined to comment on the number of workers who had joined the walkout.

A protest on Monday was attended by around 3,000 people.

“In our view, there will be no production disruption,” Jung In Yun, from Fibonacci Asset Management Global told BBC News.

Last month, the union staged the first walkout at Samsung Electronics since the company was founded over five decades ago.

Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest manufacturer of memory chips, smartphones, and televisions, is the flagship unit of the South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group.

This conglomerate is the largest of the family-controlled businesses that dominate South Korea’s economy, the fourth-largest in Asia.

Historically, Samsung Group did not allow unions to represent its workers until 2020, when the company faced intense public scrutiny following the prosecution of its chairman for market manipulation and bribery.

Following the NSEU announcement, Samsung Electronics’ shares were trading flat to slightly lower on the Korea Stock Exchange.

Last week, Samsung Electronics projected a 15-fold increase in profits for the three months ending June 2024 compared to the same period last year.

The company attributed this surge to a boom in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which has driven up the prices of advanced chips, positively impacting its second-quarter forecast.