Samsung, union should share same goal to survive: biz lobby leader

Sohn Kyung-shik, chairman of the Korea Enterprises Federation, speaks during an interview with a group of reporters on the sidelines of the 112th International Labour Conference in Geneva, Monday. Joint Press Corps

GENEVA — Samsung Electronics and its unionized workers should pull in the same direction and pursue the same goal to survive in the fiercely competitive global semiconductor market, the head of the Korea Enterprises Federation (KEF) said Monday. He noted this notion could resolve ongoing conflicts between the company’s labor and management.

“The competition to take the lead in the global semiconductor market has intensified. The idea about this situation should not be different between the company and the union, as both need to survive,” KEF Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik said during an interview with a group of reporters on the sidelines of the 112th International Labour Conference, which kicked off on June 3 and will last until Friday.

“For these reasons, I think Samsung’s labor-management conflict would be able to be resolved soon.”

The KEF is a business lobby representing over 4,000 businesses in Korea.

Sohn, who also serves as CJ Group chairman, attended the annual event of the International Labour Organization (ILO), representing Korea’s business community.

Sohn’s remarks came a few days after members of the 28,000-strong National Samsung Electronics Union collectively took the day off last Friday for their one-day strike over wages, marking the first labor walkout at the tech giant.

At the time, the largest union of the company, representing 22 percent of its total workforce, said coordinated use of vacation was its first step in moving toward “the ultimate goal of a general strike.”

During the interview, Sohn cited Germany’s case, saying the European country used to make efforts to develop its semiconductor industry but eventually gave up due to its strict regulations over working hours.

“In some cases, semiconductor researchers should work overnight. In Germany, this was not allowed due to rigid rules on working hours, and this led that country to halt the efforts to develop the industry,” he said.

“We should learn from cases of failure of other countries. Maintaining the lead in the global semiconductor 카지노 market is what everyone wants, regardless of whether you belong to Samsung Electronics or SK hynix. I think (the Samsung issue) should be resolved in this regard.”

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