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Samsung Workers’ Union Stages First Walkout Demanding Better Pay

A workers’ union at Samsung Electronics staged its first walkout on Friday, signaling increased assertiveness among employees as South Korea’s leading conglomerate strives to advance in AI-related chip technology.

The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU), whose approximately 28,000 members comprise over a fifth of the company’s workforce, announced a one-day strike to demand better pay. While the walkout is unlikely to immediately impact semiconductor production or shipments, it adds pressure on Samsung Electronics as it races to close the gap in contract chip manufacturing with Taiwan’s TSMC, analysts said.

“The purpose of today’s strike action is to have meaningful conversation with management,” NSEU official Lee Hyun-kuk told Reuters. He mentioned that the union was preparing further actions, without providing details.

Samsung Electronics reported no impact on production or business activities due to the strike. The walkout coincided with a public holiday, resulting in fewer employees taking annual leave than on the same day last year, the company noted. The union did not disclose the number of members participating in the strike through annual leave.

“We have sincerely engaged with the union and will continue talks with them,” said a company official.

Samsung Electronics’ share price closed down 0.1%, compared to a 1.2% rise in the benchmark KOSPI.

Market researcher TrendForce indicated that the walkout is unlikely to affect DRAM or NAND flash memory production or cause shipment shortages, as manufacturing is highly automated. Furthermore, the strike appears to involve more workers from the firm’s Seoul headquarters than production facilities and was planned for a single day, TrendForce added.

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