Samsung agrees to allow labor union, absorb workers from subcontractors

By Lim Chang-won Posted : April 17, 2018, 17:22 Updated : April 17, 2018, 17:22

[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics, known for its strong and unyielding stance against labor unions, took an unusual step Tuesday to hire thousands of workers from subcontractors as regular employees at its warranty service arm and allow union activities.

At talks with the Korean Metal Workers' Union, an umbrella labor group, Samsung Electronics Service agreed to hire about 8,000 workers from 90 subcontractors. As a result, the company's workforce will rise from 1,200 to more than 9,000.

Samsung Electronics Service also promised to allow union activities to improve the working environment for workers.

The decision came on the heels of an investigation by state prosecutors into allegations that Samsung's after-services unit has systematically suppressed labor activities to stop the establishment and operations of labor unions.

For decades, Samsung Electronics and many other units affiliated with the country's largest conglomerate have been intolerant towards union activities. However, they were under pressure to change their policy after President Moon Jae-in, a former human rights activist, took office in May last year with support from labor groups.

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