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PSPD    People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

  • Socio-Economic
  • 2019.01.03
  • 1171

The Role of the Samsung Owner Family in Union-busting Operations at Samsung must be Fully Investigated and Brought to Light. 

The prosecution must investigate the role of the Vice-president, Lee Jae-yong, and Samsung group management, and indict those directly responsible. 

 

On January 1, 2019, Kim Sung-hoon, the chief prosecutor of the Department of Public Investigation of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, announced the indictment, without detention, of executive members of Samsung Electronics, Samsung Everland, and 13 other Samsung affiliates, on charges of violation of the Trade Union and Labor Relations Adjustment Act. The Prosecutors’ Office’s report from last September, entitled “Interim report on the investigation into the union-busting case at Samsung Electronics Co., LTD and the Samsung Electronics Service Co., LTD,” revealed endeavors to dismantle labor unions at Samsung Electronics and Samsung Electronics Service.

 

Now, similar labor union-busting efforts at Samsung Everland are coming to light. The People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) considers the indictments of those related to the union-busting at Samsung Everland to be justifiable and proper. In addition, we urge the prosecution to expand the investigation to all other Samsung subsidiaries including Samsung S-One, Samsung Well Story, Samsung C&T, Samsung SDI, and to pay particular attention to the role played by Vice-president Lee Jae-yong and the Samsung owner family.

 

According to the Prosecutors’ Office’s indictment, the Samsung Office of Future Strategy and the Everland labor management implemented numerous union-busting strategies. They created company dominated unions to hamper labor union activities at Samsung Everland ahead of the 2011 implementation of the Multiple Labor Union system. In addition, they have taken disciplinary actions against labor union leaders, and surveilled the union members and their families, all in an effort to dismantle the labor unions.

 

In fact, the aforementioned Prosecutors Office’s report from September of 2018 revealed that Samsung was “taking almost all measures necessary to dismantle labor unions” in order to fulfill the Samsung conglomerate wide policy of “union free management”. Therefore, it is well within reason to suspect the role of Vice-president Lee Jae-yong and the Samsung owner family in the company wide union-busting efforts. The prosecution must expand the investigation to the entire Samsung group, with particular emphasis on the role of Vice-president Lee Jae-Yong and the Samsung owner family.

 

In 2013, National Assembly Member Sim Sang-jung revealed the document “S group strategy on labor-management relations” detailing Samsung group’s union-busting strategy. It has been five years since this was revealed and since the National Metal Union, MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, PSPD, the Labor Citizen Society Group, and others filed legal complaints against Samsung Electronics president Lee Kun-hee in relation to this document. In the meantime, the union-busting strategy at Samsung has caused severe hardship to many workers, even leading some to take their own lives.

 

In May of 2014, the labor union member, Yeum Ho-suk, committed suicide in resistance to the oppression of labor unions at Samsung Electronics Service, and in the aftermath his body was forcibly seized by over 300 police officers despite his wishes. It was only in December of 2018 that the prosecution indicted those responsible for the forcible seizure, including police officers who had taken bribes from Samsung. This tragedy could have been averted had the prosecution properly investigated the union-busting activities at Samsung 5 years ago.

 

Contrary to what some may think, giving a free pass to the management responsible for union-busting activities does not benefit the economy. Rather, such free passes will impede fair and healthy labor-management relations, which is a prerequisite for economic recovery. Turning a blind eye only promotes the illegal activities of the management. We hope that the prosecution will no longer be swayed by the influence of Samsung, and be pursue its proper duty in realizing justice and protecting human rights.  

 

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