Samsung Electronics tendered an apology on Friday to its workers who developed cancer and other work related illnesses after working at some of its factories. This draws to a close a decade of dispute at the world’s top chip maker.
According to campaign groups, about 240 people have suffered from work -related illnesses with around 80 dying after working at Samsung semiconductor and display factories.
Samsung Electronics is the biggest mobile phone manufacturer and chip-maker in the world; and also the flagship subsidiary of the group. Samsung Group is the biggest family controlled conglomerates that dominates the South Korean economy.
It currently runs vast semiconductor production compounds in Suwon, Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, in addition to Xian in China.
“We sincerely apologise to the workers who suffered from illness and their families,” said the firm’s co-president Kim Ki-nam. “We have failed to properly manage health risks at our semiconductor and LCD factories.”
The company’s co-president, Kim Ki-nam and the father of a dead 22 year old worker signed a formal settlement agreement in Seoul on behalf of other disabled employees.
Under the deal struck earlier in the month, Samsung Electronics would pay its affected employees compensation of up to 150 million won ($133,000) per case.
This deal covers 16 types of cancer, miscarriages, some other rare illnesses and congenital diseases suffered by workers children. It covers Claimants who have worked at plants as far back at 1984.
The scandal came to light in 2007 when former workers at Samsung’s semiconductor and display factories in Suwon, south of Seoul and their families complained of that staff had been diagnosed or died of various forms of cancer.
This led to a series of rulings by courts and mediation committee over a 10 year period; leading to Friday’s announcement.
Hwang Sang-ki who signed the agreement on behalf of the workers and their families, expressed happiness at proving that Samsung was to blame for the death of his daughter, who died of leukemia in 2007.
He told reporters that he felt glad to have kept his promise to his daughter; and that though compensation for industrial injury is important, prevention is more important.