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Samsung Workers Strike, the First in the Company’s History

For the first time, workers at Samsung, the conglomerate that dominates the South Korean economy, went on strike on Friday.

The action comes as Samsung Electronics fights to regain its edge in the business of making memory chips, a critical component in the advanced artificial intelligence systems that are reshaping longstanding rivalries among global technology companies.

Workers in Samsung’s chip division were expected to make up the majority of those who will not report to work on Friday for a planned one-day strike. Union representatives said that multiple rounds of negotiations over wage increases and bonuses had broken down.

“The company doesn’t value the union as a negotiating partner,” said Lee Hyun Kuk, the vice president of the Nationwide Samsung Electronics Union, the largest among five labor groups at the company. It says that it represents 28,000 members, about one-fifth of Samsung’s global work force, and that nearly 75 percent voted in favor of a strike in April.

Mr. Lee said that union workers received no bonuses last year, while some had gotten bonuses of as much as 30 percent of their salaries in the past. “It feels like we’ve taken a 30 percent pay cut,” he said. The average union worker earned about 80 million won last year, or around $60,000, before incentives, he said.