Samsung Electronics Workers Strike as Union Voice Grows in SKorea

The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) workers hold placards and shout slogans during a general strike to disrupt production between July 8 and 10, in front of the Samsung Electronics Nano City Hwaseong Campus in Hwaseong, South Korea, July 8, 2024. REUTERS/Kim Soo-hyeon
The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) workers hold placards and shout slogans during a general strike to disrupt production between July 8 and 10, in front of the Samsung Electronics Nano City Hwaseong Campus in Hwaseong, South Korea, July 8, 2024. REUTERS/Kim Soo-hyeon
TT

Samsung Electronics Workers Strike as Union Voice Grows in SKorea

The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) workers hold placards and shout slogans during a general strike to disrupt production between July 8 and 10, in front of the Samsung Electronics Nano City Hwaseong Campus in Hwaseong, South Korea, July 8, 2024. REUTERS/Kim Soo-hyeon
The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) workers hold placards and shout slogans during a general strike to disrupt production between July 8 and 10, in front of the Samsung Electronics Nano City Hwaseong Campus in Hwaseong, South Korea, July 8, 2024. REUTERS/Kim Soo-hyeon

Samsung Electronics workers began a three-day strike for better pay on Monday, with their union pointing to further action should South Korea's biggest conglomerate continue to fall short of its demands.
The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU), whose roughly 30,000 members make up almost a quarter of the firm's South Korean workforce, also wants an extra day of annual leave for unionized workers and changes to the employee bonus system, Reuters reported.
Low participation and automated production means the strike is unlikely to have a significant impact on output at the world's biggest memory chipmaker, analysts said. Still, it signals a decline in staff morale at a pivotal point in the chip industry as tech firms embrace artificial intelligence.
The union's first industrial action last month involved coordinating annual leave to stage a mass walkout, which Samsung said had no impact on business activity. The firm said on Monday there was no disruption in production.
The union, which did not disclose last month's strike participation levels, said 6,540 workers will be striking this week, mostly at manufacturing sites and in product development. It said the strike includes workers who monitor automated production lines and equipment so operations could be affected.
Union officials said about 3,000 strikers attended a rally in the rain near Samsung's headquarters in Hwaseong, south of Seoul.
Union president Son Woo-mok disputed media reports of low participation, telling Reuters that the five-year-old union did not have enough time to educate members about the issues.
"Education about labor unions ... has not been enough. But I don't think this participation is low because our union is still young compared to other unions," he said.
Lee Hyun-kuk, the union's vice president, said there could be further strikes if Samsung does not improve its proposals.
Samsung's proposals include flexibility in pay and annual leave conditions but do not meet union demands of increased pay and leave, Lee told Reuters.
Union officials also want equality in the bonus system. They said bonuses for rank-and-file workers are calculated by deducting the cost of capital from operating profit, whereas those for executives are based on personal performance goals.
The union's membership has grown since Samsung pledged in 2020 to stop discouraging organized labor. Its growing voice is demanding attention just as Samsung struggles to navigate competition in chips used for artificial intelligence (AI) applications, analysts said.



Musk Activates Starlink Satellite Internet Service in Gaza Hospital

Analysts have doubts about Elon Musk's notion of relying on subscriptions instead of ads at Twitter Britta Pedersen POOL/AFP/File
Analysts have doubts about Elon Musk's notion of relying on subscriptions instead of ads at Twitter Britta Pedersen POOL/AFP/File
TT

Musk Activates Starlink Satellite Internet Service in Gaza Hospital

Analysts have doubts about Elon Musk's notion of relying on subscriptions instead of ads at Twitter Britta Pedersen POOL/AFP/File
Analysts have doubts about Elon Musk's notion of relying on subscriptions instead of ads at Twitter Britta Pedersen POOL/AFP/File

Elon Musk's Starlink satellite internet service has been activated in a hospital in the Gaza Strip, the SpaceX chief executive said.

"Starlink is now active in a Gaza hospital with the support of @UAEmediaoffice and @Israel," Musk posted on X, more than five months after the Israeli government approved Starlink's use in the hospital in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The high-speed internet will enable potentially life-saving medical consultations via real-time video calling, the UAE foreign ministry said in February.

Internet connectivity in Gaza is poor because of the lack of power and fuel to operate provider centers. This makes it harder for medical staff and rescue teams to work, and restricts hospital services and the health ministry's centralised system.