Samsung Electronics workers to strike on July 8-10, union official says

Samsung Electronics workers to strike on July 8-10, union official says

By Heekyong Yang and Joyce Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) -A workers’ union at Samsung Electronics in South Korea has called a strike for July 8-10, a union official said on Tuesday, as it steps up industrial action against the country’s most valuable company.

The union is determining how many workers will join the strike, the official told Reuters by telephone.

Son Woo-mok, leader of the union, said late on Monday that the union wants a more transparent system for bonuses and time off, and wants the company to treat it as an equal partner.

Samsung declined to comment on the union’s strike plan.

Its share price was unaffected, rising 0.1% in morning trade versus a 0.7% decline in the benchmark price index.

Union membership increased rapidly after Samsung in 2020 pledged to stop discouraging the growth of organised labour.

The strike itself is unlikely to have a major impact on chip output as most production at the world’s biggest memory chipmaker is automated, two analysts told Reuters.

But any impact will ultimately depend on how many people that operate chip plants participate and for how long, said senior researcher Kim Yang-Paeng at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade.

“Chip production cannot proceed with replacement workers” if people who operate the automated machines walked out for a long time “because of the specificity and expertise of the work,” Kim said.

Last month, workers en masse took annual leave on the same day in what was effectively the union’s first industrial action. At the time, Samsung said there was no impact on production or business activity. Those striking were mainly employed at inner-city offices rather than at manufacturing sites, analysts said.

“This planned strike marks a turning point in Samsung’s history of non-union management. This could be seen as a drop in employee loyalty at Samsung … caused by wages and disappointing compensation compared to Samsung’s rivals,” a Seoul-based analyst said on Tuesday, declining to be identified as details of the strike were unknown.

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Joyce Lee; Writing by Ju-min Park; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Christopher Cushing)

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