Samsung union in South Korea declares ‘indefinite’ strike

A union representing tens of thousands of workers at Samsung Electronics in South Korea said it would extend a three-day strike indefinitely in a bid to force management to negotiate.

The strike is the biggest labour action in the tech giant's history and steps up pressure on the chipmaker's management, who last week predicted a huge second-quarter operating profit increase.

"(We) declare a second indefinite general strike from July 10, after learning that the management has no willingness to talk," the National Samsung Electronics Union said in a statement.

More than 5,000 members stopped working Monday for what was meant to be a three-day strike, part of a long-running battle over pay and benefits.

The move follows a one-day walkout in June, the first such collective action at the company, which went decades without unionisation.

The union has more than 30,000 members more than a fifth of the company's total workforce.

Samsung told AFP Wednesday that the strike would not affect production.

"Samsung Electronics will ensure no disruptions occur in the production lines," a spokesperson told AFP, adding the company "remains committed to engaging in good faith negotiations with the union".

But the union said it had confirmed "clear disruption in production", and added that the longer the strike went on "the more the management will suffer".

"Eventually, they will kneel and come to the negotiation table. We are confident of victory," it added in a statement, urging more workers to participate.

Largest memory chipmaker

Samsung Electronics is the world's largest memory chipmaker and accounts for a significant chunk of the global output of the high-end chips used in generative AI.

But as semiconductor factories are highly automated with low demand for actual manpower, it is likely the strike will not have a major impact, Avril Wu, an analyst at Taipei-based research group TrendForce, told AFP.

"Even if the strike is extended, the current assessment is that there will still be no significant impact," Wu said.

The first effective labour union at Samsung Electronics was formed in 2019.

Samsung recently predicted a more than 15-fold increase in its on-year second-quarter operating profits, thanks to growing demand for generative AI.


Source: TRT