For some time now, the South Korean company Samsung has faced worldwide criticism in relation to its lack of safety standards in its factories. In 2007 it became known that many people who worked in Samsung’s chip factories suffered from rare cancers, these cancers were to the use of highly toxic chemicals. Of the more than 230 sufferers, almost one third have died with most of whom were between the ages of 20 and 30 years old.1
Only after massive public pressure did Samsung apologise for the incidents and promise compensation for those affected. The payment of the compensation funds, however, was subject to the condition not to raise further allegations, and, in particular to refrain from legal action. Despite previous court hearings proving a link between the chemicals used by workers and the cancer.2
Samsung is apparently trying to avoid a public debate on the working conditions in its factories by all means. Not only did Samsung lay down the conditions for the payment of compensation funds, the Group also presented the parties concerned also larger sums to agree their silence. For example, the family of one ill worker was offered 1 billion won (about 800,000 euros) to deny the link between their work and the disease3.
The information from the trials related to Samsung’s questionable practices was suppressed by Samsung, claiming trade secrets. Therefore statements by former workers were allegedly unable to refer to the chemicals, or warn of possible risks to which they may be exposed in their work. According to an AP article from 08.12.20164 Samsung tries in the elucidation of cases repeatedly to conceal critical information about chemicals on the grounds that they were trade secrets5. The South Korean courts have previously recognised the restraint of this information, which raises the questions as to why the measurement procedure is critical to the Group and its interests are put above those of its workers.
- http://allindiaroundup.com/news/samsung-offered-rs-5-7-crores-to-a- worker-to-stay-silent / [↩]
- http: //www.facing- finance.org/de/2015/11/deutsch-samsungs-arbeiterinnen-fordern-angemessene-entschaedigungen-fuer-krebserkrankungen/ [↩]
- http://allindiaroundup.com/news/samsung-offered-rs-5-7 -crores-to-a-worker-to-stay-silent / [↩]
- http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ea1b8280b50b4ad3a9bdcd9def798914/2-words-keep-sick-samsung-workers-data-trade-secrets [↩]
- https://news.samsung.com/global/statement-on-the-associated-press-article-of-august-10 -2016 [↩]