Samsung offered its “sincerest apology” for the sickness and deaths of some of its workers, and has promised to compensate those affected and their families.
In a statement, Samsung said that some of its former employees had died from leukemia or are coping with difficult-to-treat diseases after having worked at its manufacturing facility.
“It is truly sad and heart-breaking for us,” the company said in a statement. It added that it should have been more diligent in addressing the hardship and sorrow of former employees and the families of the deceased.
“We feel regret that a solution for this delicate matter has not been found in a timely manner, and we would like to use this opportunity to express our sincerest apology to the affected people.”
Samsung said it wants to resolve the issue with the concerned parties with “utmost sincerity” and it would compensate former employees battling illness and the families of the deceased.
The move follows a proposal by families and the Supporters for the Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor Industry (SHARPS) group.
Apparently, there have been 26 victims of blood cancers – leukemia and lymphoma – reported to SHARPS, who worked in Samsung’s Gi-Heung and On-Yang semiconductor plants. Ten have died.
Other workplace related illnesses reported to SHARPS include miscarriages, infertility, irregular menstruation, loss of hair, blood disorders, kidney troubles and liver disease.
SHARPS said that working in Samsung’s semiconductor plants was hazardous as thousands of chemicals that are used for the manufacturing of chips and workers are not told about them.
Cleanrooms in the factories do not filter toxic gases and are designed to protect the wafers rather than the workers, SHARPS added. Workers are also often forced to turn off recently installed protective devices to keep up with the production rate, SHARPS said.
The parties will now discuss setting up an impartial independent mediating group that will decide the criteria and eligibility for compensation, Samsung said, adding that it will fully comply with any guidelines for compensation set by that mediator.