Thursday, September 15, 2016

Violations of Workers Rights in South Korea

Seventy-Six Samsung Workers Dead

(August 10, 2016) Samsung deliberately kept secret the harmful chemicals its South Korean workers were exposed to, fearing its competitors would learn trade secrets. 76 workers are now dead. Most of the dead were in their 20s or 30s. One former worker—a breast cancer survivor—reported that Samsung brought in “uninformed kids” and treated them like they were “disposable cups.” Samsung repeatedly refused to reveal the carcinogenic chemicals workers were exposed to in its factories, the exposure levels, or how it managed the chemicals. And the only reason it gave was protecting its bottom line: “our company's competitiveness would be lowered,” it told the government, which then helped them keep it secret. Samsung literally put profit ahead of workers’ lives. Tell it to compensate the sick workers and their families and improve safety measures so this never happens again.


Women of Samsung Walk Out — National Strike for Equal Pay Hits Korea

After decades of wage discrimination and unequal treatment, the female employees of Samsung staged the largest walk out the company and country has ever seen in protest. Early this morning (August 8, 2016)  female employees of Samsung streamed out of the main entrance of the conglomerate’s HQ as a unified front. Nearly 30,000 strong, the women discarded their employee badges on the floor of the main lobby chanting, “Together We Are One, Without Us Nothing!” 

The world’s largest technology company ground to a halt due to the powerful protest, denouncing the systematic wage discrepancy between male and female employees. Samsung stock has plummeted more than 20% since opening bell. South Korean women suffer the worst wage gap among all OECD countries; currently at a staggering 40%. The figure is 2.5 times higher than the OECD average of 15.8 percent and considerably larger than the ’United States’ gap of 18 percent. Samsung officials are scrambling; completely caught off guard by the strength of the female employee base and finally coming to terms that every facet of the company requires a female to operate without issue. “It’s a national tragedy to treat the female employees of Korea this way. There’s absolutely no reason why any of us should be paid 40% less than our male counterparts,” stated Kim YuJeong, an analyst for the company. 

Nearly every single female employee from Samsung HQ has vacated their office, leaving the company utterly inoperable. Senior Executives could not be reached and global offices have also begun to shut down. Fellow female employees located in global offices have also stated they will join the protest to bring solidarity to this crucial issue of equality in the workplace. With 30,000 strong, the female base has taken the upper hand in negotiations and have made clear that they will not return until all female employees’ salaries are matched with their male counterparts and 3 female members are added to the Board of Directors. In addition to the above demands, the coalition has made a revolutionary ask to the Korean Government; National Equal Pay Legislation. Without which, no employee will return.

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