Kinam Kim, President & CEO, Device Solutions, Samsung Electronics bows in apology in Seoul, South Korea.Image: Lee Jin-man (AP)
Samsung has issued a formal apology to its workers who were sickened and died at its chip and display factories. The apology arrived as part of a settlement the company reached with victims of maladies that reportedly included cancer and miscarriages.
“Our effort was insufficient to better understand the pain affected workers and their families went through,” Kinam Kim, president and CEO of the company’s Device Solutions Division, said during the public apology this week. The Associated Press noted Thursday that one glaring absence in Samsung’s apology was an admission that its own workplace conditions led to illness or death suffered by its workers.
Horrifying allegations of toxic work environments have plagued the company for years, with Samsung finally agreeing to a compensation deal with its factory workers in July. Reuters reported Thursday that the South Korean manufacturer agreed to pay victims of illness suffered by exposure to chemicals at its factories up to 150 million won (roughly $132,289) by 2028.
All former and current Samsung employees as well as the company’s contractors who worked at Samsung’s semiconductor and display production plants for more than one year since 1984 are eligible to be compensated for their illnesses.
Kim said the company would post its compensation guidelines along with an apology letter by at the end of this month on the company’s website and an independent Seoul-based law firm will conduct the review process for affected workers for their compensation eligibility.
Hwang Sang-gi, whose daughter worked at one of Samsung’s factories and died of leukemia in 2007, is the founder of the South Korean advocacy group Sharps and told Reuters that as many as 200 workers at Samsung’s factories were sickened, with 70 of those individuals later dying.
Speaking at the news conference, Hwang said: “No apology would be enough when considering the deception and humiliation we experienced (from Samsung) over the past 11 years, the pain of suffering from occupational diseases, the pain of losing loved ones.”