Samsung Display workers launch 1st strike in company history

June 21, 2021

Representatives of the labor union at Samsung Display Co. on Monday launched their first-ever strike after failing to reach a compromise on a wage hike, and the walkout marks the first after group chief Lee Jae-yong promised to abolish the conglomerate’s “no labor union” policy.

Six representatives of Samsung Display’s labor union staged a walkout at its plant in Asan, about 100 kilometers south of Seoul, after they failed to reach a wage deal with the company.

The union, which has about 2,400 members, or 10 percent of Samsung Display workers, has yet to decide whether to launch a full-scale strike with other workers.

More than 90 percent of union members voted for industrial actions last month.

The union demanded a 6.8 percent increase in base pay, but the company insisted on a 4.5 percent raise. The labor ministry’s mediation also failed to narrow differences between the two sides.

A high-ranking member of Samsung Display's labor union stages a strike at the company's plant in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, on June 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

A high-ranking member of Samsung Display’s labor union stages a strike at the company’s plant in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, on June 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

The strike was the first among Samsung Group’s electronics affiliates.

It is also the first strike at a Samsung company since Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of South Korea’s top conglomerate, pledged to discard the “no labor union” policy in May last year.

He promised that the group will strictly comply with labor-related laws and will guarantee three fundamental labor rights of workers.

Samsung Display, the world’s largest mobile display maker, saw its workers forming a labor union under the Federation of Korean Trade Unions last year.

Industry observers said a strike at Samsung Display may expand to other affiliates in the future.

Labor unions of eight Samsung Group affiliates, including Samsung Electronics and Samsung SDI, have formed an alliance and previously planned a joint walkout.