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Samsung agrees to compensate victims of work-related diseases a decade after first complaints

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Deal follows the death of a factory worker from leukemia in 2007

Samsung Electronics President and CEO Kim Ki-nam bows in apology during the Seoul press conference announcing the compensation.

Samsung has apologized to all sufferers of work-related diseases who were employed on its chip and LCD production lines, and has agreed to a compensation package with a maximum value of 150 million Korean won (around $130,000) per illness, reports Yonhap News Agency.

”Beloved colleagues and families have suffered for a long time, but Samsung Electronics failed to take care of the matter earlier,” said Samsung Electronics Chief Executive Kim Ki-nam. “Samsung Electronics also did not fully and completely manage potential health risks at our chip and liquid-crystal display production lines. Today, we wish to express a sincere apology to the workers who suffered from diseases, as well as their families.”

The agreement, which also covers congenital diseases suffered by children of the victims, is the result of decade-long campaign by SHARPS, an organisation founded by Hwang Sang-ki after his son died from leukemia while working at a Samsung chip factory in 2007. SHARPS estimates that around 200 employees have contracted diseases relating to Samsung’s production lines, of which 70 are thought to have died.

Although mediation originally began between Samsung and SHARPS back in 2014, the negotiations ended without a settlement being reached. Samsung attempted to apologise for the work-related diseases later that year and announced its own compensation plan, but SHARPS responded with protests that continued indefinitely until talks resumed earlier this year. In July Samsung agreed to unconditionally accept the result of the mediation. The deadline for the compensation to be paid is October 31st, 2028.

This is not the end for SHARPS’ campaign. Its founder noted that the agreement only covers workers from Samsung’s chip and LCD segments, and claimed that workers from Samsung’s electro-mechanics, enterprise IT and battery divisions have also been affected by handling hazardous substances.