Samsung union in South Korea says will strike indefinitely

A workers' union at tech giant Samsung Electronics in South Korea said on Wednesday it would continue to strike indefinitely

Updated - July 11, 2024 08:14 am IST

Published - July 10, 2024 09:22 am IST - SEOUL

Members of the National Samsung Electronics Union gather during a rally as they began a three-day general strike outside of Samsung Electronics' Hwaseong campus in Hwaseong, South Korea, Monday, July 8, 2024. (Hong Ki-won/Yonhap via AP)

Members of the National Samsung Electronics Union gather during a rally as they began a three-day general strike outside of Samsung Electronics' Hwaseong campus in Hwaseong, South Korea, Monday, July 8, 2024. (Hong Ki-won/Yonhap via AP) | Photo Credit: AP

A workers' union at tech giant Samsung Electronics in South Korea said on Wednesday it would continue to strike indefinitely, stepping up its campaign for better pay and benefits.

The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU), whose roughly 30,000 members make up almost a quarter of the firm's South Korean workforce, said it has decided to continue striking because management has shown no indication of holding talks after a strike that started on Monday.

"We haven't spoken to management since we started the strike on Monday," said Lee Hyun-kuk, the union's vice president.

The union said it would extend the strike initially planned to last three days through Wednesday. Lee told Reuters that the union found its strike has disrupted production on certain chip lines such as with equipment running more slowly.

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Samsung previously said the strike has caused no disruption to production. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

The union is becoming more vocal and seeking to be treated as an equal partner, adding to challenges at the world's biggest memory chipmaker which is struggling to navigate competition in chips used for artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

Lee said about 6,500 workers have been participating in the strike and that the union will encourage more members to join.

Union officials have disputed reports of low participation, telling Reuters that the five-year-old body did not have enough time to educate members about the labour issues. The union held a training session on Tuesday and will conduct another on Wednesday.

Analysts said it would be difficult to verify whether the strike has disrupted production unless the union provides details of wafers and processes.

The union said it has revised demands to include a 3.5% increase in base salary and, instead of an extra day's annual leave, a day off to mark the union's founding. Lee said the management previously offered a 3% rise in base salary but the union wants 3.5% to better reflect inflation.

Samsung's share price was down 0.1% versus a 0.2% decline in the benchmark KOSPI as at 0139 GMT.

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