Thursday , May 13 2021

Samsung apologizes for illnesses, the deaths of some workers

Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press

Posted Thursday, November 22, 2018, 23:56 EST

Samsung Electronics apologized on Friday for the illness and death of some of its workers, saying it had failed to create a safe working environment for its computer chips and displays.

The announcement by the South Korean technology giant came weeks after the company and a group of impoverished Samsung workers agreed to accept compensation conditions proposed by a mediator and end the widely-propagated blow that lasted more than a decade. The company's excuse was part of the settlement.

Kimam Kim, president of Samsung's device solutions division, said the company had failed to "manage the health threats" of the semiconductor and liquid crystal production lines. As detailed in the Associated Press report over the last decade, dozens of employees who worked there have had severe illnesses such as leukemia and brain tumors.

"We offer our sincere excuse to our workers who have suffered from illness and their families," Kim said at a press conference in Seoul, where activists and relatives of workers were also present.

But while deciding on a deal and not allowing to wait for safety standards, Samsung still has to fully recognize the working environment as a direct cause of the disease.

The problem began in 2007 when taxi driver Hwang Sang-gi refused to accept an agreement after his 23-year-old daughter died of leukemia after working at Samsung's plant. Hwang's efforts to clarify the cause of Yu-mi's death and to keep Samsung responsible for working-related problems have created wider movement to keep businesses and governments responsible for dropping safety in chip and display manufacturing who use huge amounts of chemicals.

"It will not be a good excuse when we look at the deception and humiliation we have experienced (from Samsung) in the last 11 years, the pain of suffering from occupational illnesses, the pain of losing relatives," Hwan told the press conference. "But today I apologize as a promise from Samsung Electronics" to improve job security, he said.

Under the deal, Samsung will compensate for various illnesses for employees who have worked on their chips and LCDs since 1984, including $ 150 million ($ 132,000) for leukemia. Compensation also covers spontaneous abortions and congenital illnesses of workers' children, such as childhood cancer.

Since 2008, dozens of workers have sought compensation for job security on the part of the government. Few have earned benefits, mostly after years of court battles. Half of the remaining requests were rejected and half remained under review.

Victims' families have often depleted their savings and sold their homes to pay hospital bills. Some workers end up with disabilities and can not work.

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