After a decade-long dispute with employees Samsung has apologized to workers who developed cancer after working in some of its factories.The scandal emerged in 2007 when former workers at its semiconductor and display factories in Suwon, south of Seoul and their families said that staff had been diagnosed or died of various forms of cancer.
Campaign groups say that about 240 people have suffered from work-related illnesses after being employed at Samsung semiconductor and display factories with around 80 of them most of them young women dying.
Samsung Electronics said that it will pay the group’s employees compensation of up to $133,000 per case. It covers 16 types of cancer some other rare illnesses, miscarriages and congenital diseases suffered by the worker’s children. Claimants have worked at plants as far back as 1984.
The father of a dead 22-year-old worker and the company’s co-president Kim Ki-nam signed a formal settlement agreement in Seoul as other disabled ex-employees looked on.
“We sincerely apologise to the workers who suffered from illness and their families,” said the firm’s co-president Kim Ki-nam. “We have failed to properly manage health risks at our semiconductor and LCD factories.”
Little is known about possible connections between the production process in the factories and the workers’ illnesses, as Samsung has refused to disclose what specific chemical substances it uses, describing the information as a trade secret.
Two months ago, two subcontractors were killed in a carbon dioxide leak at Samsung Electronics’ Suwon chip plant.Samsung has played a key part in the South’s rise to become the world’s 11th-largest economy.
Samsung Electronics is the world’s biggest mobile phone manufacturer and chipmaker and the flagship subsidiary of the Samsung Group by far the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates that dominate the South’s economy.