The National Samsung Electronics Union asserts that Samsung management has cut the union out of wage negotiations.
The world’s largest smartphone and memory chip manufacturer is experiencing a difficult time due to its operating profit falling to its lowest level since 2009 in the first quarter, which has led to tensions with employees.
In what could be the South Korean tech giant’s first strike in its history, one of the influential workers’ unions at Samsung Electronics issued a warning that its members might strike over a wage dispute.
The National Samsung Electronics Union says that Samsung management has cut the union of compensation talks.
The Union, which claims to represent approximately 10,000 workers—roughly 9% of all workers—held a press conference in Seoul outside of one of Samsung’s buildings and demanded that Samsung Chairman Lee Jae-yong participate in the discussions.
According to local media reports that were posted on the union’s website, a representative named Lee Hyun-kuk stated that the union would go on strike following consultation with its members, but that it would depend on the “attitude” of Samsung Chair Lee and his willingness to negotiate.
“It depends on the attitude of chairman Lee Jae-yong. We sincerely ask him to come to the table for talks,” the NSEU’s Lee said, according to Bloomberg.
But on the back of the allegations, a Samsung spokesperson said that “the company has diligently followed all relevant and related procedures, and will continue to hold discussions with the union.’”
It would be the first strike since Samsung Electronics was founded in 1969 if the walkout goes ahead. Samsung’s consumer hardware, semiconductor, display, and mobile carrier businesses are all included in Samsung Electronics.
Samsung has been hit by falling prices and demand for its memory chips, which is its biggest profit driver.
The union is asking for a 6% wage increase for workers. Samsung management said last month it would increase wages by around 4%, according to the union.