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Workers at Samsung Electronics walk out for the first time ever

Seoul CNN —

A labor union at Samsung Electronics in South Korea said many workers went on strike Friday, marking the first such walkout in the smartphone and chipmaking giant’s 55-year history.

The Nationwide Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) saidlast week that its 28,000 members — just under a quarter of the company’s total workforce in the country — would stage a one-daystrike on June 7, following failed negotiations over pay and bonus arrangements.

The union asked its members to take a day off on Friday, which falls between a public holiday on Thursday and the weekend.

Son Woomok, a union leader, told CNN that “many employees used their annual leave today,” and at one site “all workers had taken leave so replacement personnel were deployed.” He did not provide other details.

He had previously said many NSEU members work for Samsung’s flagship semiconductor unit. That division is trying to regain its former status as a top semiconductor company, according to Reuters, which says Samsung has fallen behind its competitors SK Hynix and Micron Technology in delivering chips used in artificial intelligence (AI) processors.

A Samsung spokesperson told CNN that, “there is no impact on production and management activities” as a result of the one-day walkout.

“Today’s annual leave use rate is lower than last year’s Memorial Day holiday’s annual leave use rate,” the spokesperson added.

The Samsung flag flutters in the wind outside the company building in Seoul on June 7, 2024.

The world’s biggest memory chipmaker has had a rough few years. A historic shortage of computer chips during the Covidpandemicwas followed by falling demand last year as consumer appetite for electronics remained weak because of global economic