Thousands of Samsung workers strike for pay raise amid market challenges

Samsung workers protest

WEB DESK: In a significant development last month, the Samsung workers’ union announced plans for a three-day strike aimed at securing higher wages.

Yesterday marked the commencement of this strike, which has entered its second day today, marking the first union-led strike in Samsung’s 55-year history.

According to a detailed report from Yonhap News Agency, thousands of employees affiliated with the National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) have ceased operations for the second consecutive day.

Their demands include a substantial pay increase, improved bonuses, and enhancements to the vacation system. However, Samsung has cited unfavorable market conditions as a hindrance to meeting these demands.

The NSEU, boasting a membership exceeding 30,000, represents the largest workers’ union within Samsung Electronics, encompassing approximately 24 per cent of the company’s workforce in South Korea.

Despite initial indications that over 6,000 workers intended to join the strike kick-off rally, police estimates suggest that only around 3,000 members attended.

Despite the ongoing strike action, Samsung has reported no disruptions to factory production. The company previously assured stakeholders that the strike would not impact the production of its crucial memory chips, which are a cornerstone of its operations.

In a press statement, the workers’ union cautioned that if no progress is made during the current strike, they are prepared to escalate their action with a more prolonged five-day strike scheduled to commence on July 15.

Samsung currently faces a pivotal juncture amidst various challenges. Recently, its semiconductor chip division incurred its largest financial setback to date, compounded by delays in the certification of its HBM3E chips by Nvidia.

Additionally, Samsung’s smartphone market share continues to erode due to fierce competition from Apple and Chinese competitors. The company’s ambitious foray into foldable phones has also fallen short of expectations.

Looking ahead, Samsung is set to unveil several new products, including the Galaxy Z Flip 6 and the Galaxy Z Fold 6, at its upcoming Galaxy Unpacked event in Paris tomorrow.

The success of these new foldable models will be closely watched as Samsung aims to achieve its target of shipping 20 million devices annually.

This strike not only marks a historic milestone for Samsung but also underscores the growing tensions between labor demands and corporate strategies in South Korea’s tech industry.

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