Samsung Electronics issued an official apology for the first time and promised today to compensate the families of semiconductor workers who suffered illnesses that may have been related to factory conditions.
“Several workers at our production facilities suffered from leukemia and other incurable diseases, which also led to some deaths,” Samsung Electronics CEO Kwon Oh-hyun said in a press conference, reported Yonhap News Agency. “We should have settled the issue earlier, and we are deeply heartbroken that we failed to do so and express our deep apology.”
“We hope to resolve the issue with sincerity and earnestness. We will make due compensation to the victims and the families,” he added.
It’s important to note that while Samsung Electronics said it will determine compensation using a third-party agency, the company did not acknowledge that working conditions in its factories directly caused illness, as some of the workers’ families have claimed. We have contacted Samsung Electronics for comment.
One of the deceased workers was Hwang Yu-mi, a 23-year-old Samsung plant worker who died from acute leukemia in 2007. The film Another Family, about her father’s legal battle against a fictionalized tech conglomerate that closely resembled Samsung, debuted earlier this year at the Busan International Film Festival and was notable for being the first crowdfunded film produced in Korea.
In February, Another Family’s production crew and supporters claimed that Samsung tired to suppress the film by keeping it out of one of the country’s largest cinema chains and also interfered with domestic press coverage. The controversy is a reflection of how deeply entrenched Samsung is in the daily life of South Korea, where it makes up about 20 percent of the country’s total GDP.