Samsung Display is used to writing history. For example, it was the first company to introduce foldable UTG (ultra-thin glass) displays. Advances in display technology aren’t the only “first” the company is now getting used to.
Samsung Display employees went on strike against the company for the first time in history. They went on strike after negotiations with management over a wage increase failed.
Similar union actions could spill over to other Samsung subsidiaries
Samsung had in the past spoken out resolutely against unions. In the companies under their roof, workers were prevented from forming unions. However, attitudes towards unions have now changed. Samsung boss Lee Jae-Yong had promised to abolish the group’s “union ban” policy.
Today, representatives of the Samsung Display Union launched their first strike in the company’s history. They did so after negotiations on a wage increase failed. About 40 union officials carried out the strike at the Samsung Display factory in Asan, South Chungcheong Province.
The union has nearly 2,400 members or about 10 percent of Samsung Display’s total workforce. It has not yet been decided whether a large-scale strike will take place. This option is not off the table as more than 90 percent of union members voted in favor of industrial action last month.
If that happened, Samsung Display production would suffer and he wouldn’t like that. The union is calling for a 6.8 percent increase in base wages, but the company has responded with a 4.5 percent increase. For now, both sides will not deviate from their position.
When Samsung announced last May that it was abandoning its union-free policy, the company knew it could face similar challenges in the future. Lee Jae-Yong had promised that the conglomerate would strictly adhere to labor laws and guarantee three basic labor rights of workers.
The union at Samsung Display was then founded last year as part of the Korean Federation of Trade Unions. Industry observers believe that such union actions could spread to other Samsung subsidiaries in the future.