Unionized workers at Samsung Electronics declare ‘indefinite’ strike

Unionized workers at Samsung Electronics declare ‘indefinite’ strike
Photo credit: Yonhap

Unionized workers at Samsung Electronics Co., staging the biggest labor action in the technology giant's 55-year history, declared an "indefinite general strike" Wednesday, stepping up pressure over their demand for a pay raise, Yonhap reports.

After a three-day strike scheduled to come to an end Wednesday, the National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU), the largest labor union at the world's largest memory chipmaker, had planned to stage another five-day strike, starting July 15.

But the union said it changed its plan to go straight to an indefinite strike as the company did not attempt to engage in any dialogue during the three-day strike.

"We need your determination to advance our goal and victory" the NSEU told its members, urging them not to report to work until the executive directive.

The NSEU said more than 6,000 members had expressed their intention to participate in the labor action. More than 5,000 of them were from the mainstream semiconductor division, it added.

The union's demands for the general strike include a 5.6 percent basic pay raise for all members, a guaranteed day off on the union's founding day and compensation for economic losses due to the strike.

This is a reduction from the NSEU's previous demand of a 6.5 percent pay hike over the past few months.

In contrast, Samsung Electronics' management and employees had agreed to an average 5.1 percent pay raise for 2024 in March.

Despite the ongoing strike, Samsung Electronics said there have been no disruptions to production during the first three days of labor action.

The company said it is considering hiring replacement workers to cover for absent employees.

"We plan to thoroughly prepare to ensure that production is not disrupted," a Samsung Electronics official said. "We will continue efforts to resume dialogue with the union."

Insiders note that while the strike appears to be dragging on, the possibility of a settlement remains.

The NSEU was designated as the representative bargaining unit in August last year at Samsung Electronics, which has five labor unions, including the NSEU.

With this representative status set to expire in August, the NSEU is expected to return to the negotiating table.

The NSEU reports a total membership of 31,000, accounting for approximately 24 percent of Samsung Electronics' total workforce of about 125,000.

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