June 18, 2024


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Samsung Electronics workers are on strike for the first time ever

Samsung Electronics workers are on strike for the first time ever

Samsung Electronics workers went on strike on Friday for the first time in the company's history. This move comes at a time when the Korean company faces increasing competition from other chip makers, especially as demand for artificial intelligence chips grows.

The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU), the largest of the company's several unions, called a one-day strike at Samsung's office building in Seoul, where negotiations over wage and vacation bonuses reached an impasse. New York times Reports The majority of the striking workers come from Samsung's chip division. (Samsung Electronics is technically just a subsidiary with consumer technology, appliances, and semiconductor divisions; Samsung itself is a conglomerate that controls real estate, retail, insurance, food production, hotels, and much more.)

It is not clear how many of the approximately 28,400 NSEU members participated in the strike. However, several outlets We are Reporting that the strike is unlikely to affect chip production or lead to shortages. Union leaders Tell Bloomberg Further action is planned if management refuses to participate.

However, the fact that this will happen at all is critical timing for Samsung, particularly due to tensions with the chipmaking sector of its business.

Last year, the division reported a loss of 15 trillion won ($11 billion), resulting in… Lowest level of operating profit in 15 years. The current AI boom played a big role in the huge loss. Samsung has historically been the world's leading manufacturer of high-bandwidth memory chips, the type now needed to power next-generation generative AI features. However, last year's decline was partly because Samsung was not prepared for increased demand, allowing local rival SK Hynix to take first place.

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South Korea is no stranger to labor movements, but this strike is also of great importance because It's Samsung. The company as a whole is responsible for Nearly 20 percent of South Korea's GDP. If Samsung sneezes, the whole country catches a cold. Moreover, Samsung owns… Long history for decades From breaching illegal unions. In 2020, Lee Jae-yong – then heir apparent and current CEO of Samsung Electronics – He issued an apology He promised to end the company's “no union management” policies. How it handles future conflict will be a direct test of this commitment.