SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Korea Bizwire) – Samsung Electronics Co. agreed Tuesday with victims of leukemia and other work-related diseases to ramp up efforts to improve working conditions at its plants in order to prevent workplace disasters.
The deal, signed by representatives from Samsung Electronics and two groups representing the victims and their families, calls for intensifying safety measures at Samsung’s production lines, an arbitration committee in charge of settling the dispute said.
Controversy over Samsung’s responsibility for workers’ illnesses has been growing since 2007 after Hwang Yu-mi, a former employee at Samsung’s chipmaking facility south of Seoul, died from leukemia.
Samsung’s full-fledged efforts to settle the issue started in May 2014, when the tech giant officially promised compensation over the deaths and suffering of the victims for the first time.
The Protector of Health and Human Rights of Semiconductor Workers (SHARP), the advocacy group representing the victims who fell ill or died while working at Samsung, claims more than 200 employees at its chip and display production lines are suffering from work-related diseases, with the death toll reaching 71 as of end-September. The figure has not been officially verified.
In August last year, Samsung vowed to create a 100 billion-won (US$82.9 million) fund for compensation and research work-related diseases.
Samsung, the world’s leading maker of memory chips, smartphones and TVs, has been compensating the victims since September, with the number of recipients reaching 100 as of end-2015.
But Samsung and the victims’ groups have not yet reached a final agreement on compensations and apologies, which have been at the heart of the prolonged debate.’