Samsung Electronics union calls first strike in its history

A union representing thousands of Samsung Electronics workers called the first strike at the South Korean technology giant since its founding five and a half decades ago.

The Samsung National Electronics Union says it will hold a one-day protest asking all its members to use their paid leave on June 7 and has not ruled out a full-scale strike in the future.

The union says it has about 28,000 members, representing more than a fifth of the company’s total workforce.

Samsung Electronics says it will continue negotiating with the union.

“We can no longer tolerate the persecution of unions. “We are declaring a strike due to the abandonment of workers by the company,” said a union representative during a live-streamed press conference.

Samsung Electronics management has been in talks with the union since early this year over wages, but the two sides have so far failed to reach an agreement.

The union has demanded a 6.5% salary increase and a bonus linked to the company’s income.

Samsung Electronics is the world’s largest maker of memory chips, smartphones and televisions.

Analysts have warned that a large-scale strike could disrupt the company’s computer chip manufacturing and disrupt global electronics supply chains.

Samsung Electronics is the flagship unit of South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group. It is the largest of the country’s family businesses that dominate Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

Samsung Group was known for not allowing unions to represent its workers until 2020, when the company came under intense public scrutiny after its president was prosecuted for market manipulation and bribery.

Shares of Samsung Electronics were trading about 1.8% lower in Seoul after the announcement.

With additional reporting from Jake Kwon in Seoul

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