Samsung Electronics CEO accepts unions’ request for talks

The past few weeks have been a rather turbulent time for Samsung Electronics, and it had nothing to do with the Galaxy S22 series. The company has been heading towards its potential first-ever strike, with a workers’ union coming together to fight against unfairly low wages—but Samsung has already taken the first move towards remedying the situation.
The workers’ union at Samsung had submitted a demand for wage renegotiations which was to be answered by Friday at the latest, to avoid a full-blown strike. The union was already legally authorized to go on strike, but on Friday, the company committed to an official meeting for wage negotiations to be held in early March (via TheKoreaTimes).
The employees involved in the union had been growing increasinly dissatisfied at the company’s refusal to provide significant wage increases or bonuses after the company’s performance in 2021. Although Samsung reportedly fell short of its 2021 production goals, this was owed to to the devastation of the pandemic and chip shortages, rather than any drop in employee performance.
Earlier this month, the union requested that the workers be granted a ten-million-won (roughly $8,400) annual salary increase, as well as performance-based bonuses calculated at 25% of the year’s operating profit.

The company originally blatantly rejected the demand, but thanks to Samsung’s response on Friday, however, a full strike may be avoided if the two parties come to a mutually satisfactory agreement.

The organizers of the union stated on Friday that “We received an official reply from the management to our request for a dialogue with the company’s chief executives. We are delighted that the management has changed its stance.”

Because of the size of the company, Samsung still hasn’t been decided which CEO will be chosen to participate in the discussion. The upcoming CEO election may complicate the factors around the decision, as the election will take place on March 16, where President Kyung Kye-hyun will be appointed as a new co-CEO. 

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