A solidarity statement by the Asian Transnational Corporations Monitoring Network
The Asian Transnational Corporations (ATNC) Monitoring Network, a network composed of labour organisations from 12 Asian countries, is one with SHARPS in demanding Samsung to reinitiate its dialogue with SHARPS.
In October 2015, Samsung unilaterally stopped its negotiations with SHARPS on the issue of compensation to the victims of occupational diseases in Samsung factories. Today, 7th of October 2016, marks the one-year anniversary of the 24/7 sit-in protest of SHARPS at Samsung D’light, the company’s so-called global exhibition space in South Seoul. In the past year, SHARPS has been relentless in its call for the relaunch of the dialogue with Samsung so that it can collectively bargain for its demands. In particular, SHARPS demands that Samsung (1) make a full and sincere apology for the occupational disease cluster that has harmed the workers and (2) transparently and sufficiently compensate former workers who contracted a variety of diseases while working at Samsung’s LCD and chip labs.
Despite the difficulties faced by SHARPS and its supporters during the year-long sit-in protest, they remain unyielding in their struggle in the name of the 223 workers of Samsung Electronics who were afflicted with a variety of occupational diseases, including leukemia, brain tumour, and multiple sclerosis (of whom, 76 have died).
Globally, Samsung has a reputation of being a heartless employer and union buster that has no regard for the rights and welfare of its workers. It is not only the workers of Samsung in South Korea that suffer from occupational diseases or from Samsung’s utter disrespect for labour rights and standards. With its wide-ranging supply chain in the world, especially in Asian countries, more than 1,500,000 workers are seriously affected by Samsung’s anti-labour policies.
Now that Jae-yong Lee, the heir apparent of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., is about to be part of the company’s board of directors, it is high time for Samsung to again face SHARPS at the bargaining table and start the negotiations anew. We demand Mr. Lee to reinitiate the dialogue with SHARPS and to make a public pledge, accompanied with genuine accountability, to respect workers’ and human rights. For a global corporate giant, these demands should not be difficult to fulfil.
The ATNC Monitoring Network supports SHARPS in its struggle to attain justice for the victims of occupational diseases in Samsung factories. Moreover, we will continue to be vigilant of the abuses of workers in Samsung, not only in South Korea but also in its supply chain across Asia.
7 October 2016
Asian Transnational Corporations Monitoring Network
Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong
Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, Philippines
Centre for Workers Education, India
Committee for Asian Women, Malaysia
Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Philippines
Globalisation Monitor, Hong Kong
Indonesian Federation SERBUK of Karawang, Indonesia
Korean House for International Solidarity, Korea
Labour Action China, Hong Kong
Labour Education Foundation, Pakistan
National Free Trade Union, Sri Lanka
Sedane Labour Resource Centre, Indonesia
Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association, Myanmar
Yokohama Action Research, Japan