Samsung union steps up pay fight with indefinite strike


A fight for better pay among workers at South Korea tech giant Samsung will now result in an indefinite strike, according to a top union official.

A walkout over pay and conditions by members of the National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) in the country began on Monday.

But a row over the apparent effectiveness of the action and a lack of fresh talks appears to have prompted the union to double down.

It dismissed an assertion by the world’s biggest maker of memory chips that the strike had caused no disruption to production lines so far.

The NSEU has 30,000 members at Samsung’s South Korea operations and said on Wednesday that 6,500 had participated in the action to date.

The union wants a 3.5% basic pay increase and an extra day’s holiday.

The sides do not appear to be too far away from a settlement, on paper at least.

More on Samsung

Union vice-president Lee Hyun-kuk told the Reuters news agency that Samsung had offered 3% but added: “We haven’t spoken to management since we started the strike on Monday.

Samsung’s interests across four major divisions include semiconductors and TVs to smartphones

The strike, which was due to end on Wednesday, would be extended as a result, he said, claiming that some chip production had been disrupted.

He called for more members to join the action and said the union was aiming to educate more people on the merits of the dispute.

It is taking place at a time when Samsung is looking to cash in on the global artificial intelligence (AI) frenzy.

The company estimated last week that its second quarter operating profits would spike more than 15-fold due to rising semiconductor prices.

It credited the AI boom that has also significantly lifted shares across companies with exposure.

“Samsung Electronics will ensure no disruptions occur in the production lines”, the company responded in a statement.

It concluded: “The company remains committed to engaging in good faith negotiations with the union.”

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