Samsung to pay off sick workers

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Samsung to pay off sick workers



Samsung Electronics confirmed it will compensate all of its leukemia-stricken employees after setting certain rules, refuting a local labor activist’s claim that the company will only give money to those who participate in negotiations through a mediation group.

The Korean tech giant yesterday announced its commitment via the company’s official blog, “Samsung Tomorrow.” The post also said that Banolim, a labor group representing some of the employees suffering from cancer, is distorting facts and dividing family members by spreading false information. This marks the first time that Samsung has publicly fought back against Banolim, which it has been talking with since May.

Eight relatives of the sick employees were originally members of Banolim, but after negotiations stalled in the past several months, six left the group and formed a “family countermeasure committee” last month.

Since then, Samsung has been in talks with both groups, but it reached an agreement with the family committee earlier this month to set up a mediation group to facilitate negotiations. It agreed to appoint former Supreme Court Justice Kim Ji-hyung as the head of the three-member group.

“In order to break through the negotiation that was struck by wall, we decided to accept the solution through meditation committee that was proposed by the family committee after deep consideration,” Samsung said through its blog.

Samsung said that Banolim, which has disagreed with involving third-party members, is interfering with its efforts to resolve the issue.

“Banolim is spoiling the essence of the problem by claiming that Samsung is leading the mediation committee,” the company said.

Despite the criticism, Banolim said on Monday that 37 people who recently filed or will file lawsuits against Samsung for work-related illnesses after being employed on the company’s semiconductor line are supporting its proposals and negotiation practices.

Banolim has asked Samsung to reveal which chemicals are used on its semiconductor line and to allow the formation of a chemical safety committee that will be based at the company’s semiconductor factory. Samsung has rejected the proposals.

The family committee said it will try its best to achieve a result that compensates as many of the Samsung employees with leukemia as possible.

The Samsung cancer cases first grabbed public attention in March 2007 when Hwang Yu-mi, an employee at Samsung’s semiconductor plant in Giheung, Gyeonggi, died of leukemia at the age of 23.

The company denies a direct link between leukemia and its work environment.


BY JOO KYUNG-DON [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]


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