Korea: Sorry Samsung agrees to cancer payouts

Korean campaigners who highlighted cancer cases in workers on Samsung’s microelectronics production lines have given a cautious welcome to a “deep apology” from the company’s chief executive. Samsung chief executive Kwon Oh-hyun said the company will compensate chip factory workers who developed cancer while working for the firm. In addition to the apology, which came seven years after Supporters for the Health and Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry (SHARPS) linked a leukaemia death to toxic exposures at a Samsung factory in South Korea, the firm said it would end its legal bid to avoid paying out. But the Samsung Electronics chief stopped short of admitting a direct link between working at the firm and developing leukaemia, despite the state compensation agency already having recognised several cases. Mr Kwon said: “Several workers at our production facilities suffered from leukaemia and other incurable diseases, which also led to some deaths. We should have settled the issue earlier, and we are deeply heartbroken that we failed to do so and express our deep apology.” At a press conference, he said Samsung hoped to “resolve the issue with sincerity and earnestness.” In a statement, he added: “We will make due compensation to the victims and the families.” Mr Kwon said that Samsung had failed to pay “careful attention to the pain and difficulty” of the victims and their families. An independent adjudicator would be set up to decide how to deal with each case with fairness and objectivity, with consent from the victims and the families, and Samsung would follow the compensation guidelines determined by it, Kwon said. In a statement, SHARPS said it welcomed the apology, but said it had not agreed to the arbitration proposal. It said the company should now restart notions with SHARPS, which have stalled for five months, recognise SHARPS in subsequent negotiations “and comply in good faith with our demands.”
SHARPS news release and statements from the campaign and Samsung  • Korea Times   • BBC News Online  • The Guardian  • PC World

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