Samsung Finally Reaches Settlement Deal with Sickened Factory Workers
A decade-long standoff between South Korean technology manufacturer Samsung and a group of former employees has finally come to an end, according to multiple reports over the weekend. The settlement between Samsung and Banolim—a group that’s been representing ex-Samsung workers and their families—was reportedly reached a few weeks ago but is just now being publicized. It relates to a highly-publicized case of poor factory working conditions that resulted in a range of illnesses, miscarriages, child cancer, and workers developing (and ultimately succumbing to) leukemia and brain tumors.
According to the settlement, Samsung has agreed to compensate those workers, or the families of workers who’ve seen their loved ones pass as a result of working in the LCD and chip factories dating as far back as 1984. The compensation goes up as high as 150 million won ($132,000) for those who developed leukemia.
Samsung’s President of the Device Solutions division Kinam Kim, in a statement cited by the Associated Press, acknowledged that the company had failed to “sufficiently manage health threats” at its chip and LCD manufacturing plants, and offered a “sincere apology” to the former workers and families who suffered as a result of the company’s shortcomings.
According to the AP, the standoff between Samsung and its former workers started back in 2007 when Hwang Sang-gi, the father of a 23-year-old former Samsung worker who died of leukemia after working at a Samsung factory, refused to accept a settlement payment. Hwang kicked off what ended up turning into an 11 year journey to get the company—and the broader manufacturing industry—to own up to the devastation that its poor working conditions was causing.
"No apology would be enough when considering the deception and humiliation we experienced (from Samsung) over the past 11 years, the pain of suffering from occupational diseases, the pain of losing loved ones," Hwang said at a news conference with Samsung, via the AP. "But I take today's apology as a promise from Samsung Electronics," to improve the safety of its workplaces, he said.
Per the settlement, the company will work to compensate all former workers and their families by 2028.
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