Samsung offers "deep apology" and compensation for illnesses and deaths of factory workers

Recent documentary uncovered 56 cases of leukemia

May 14, 2014
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South Korean electronics giant Samsung has officially apologized over the illnesses and deaths of some of its factory workers. In a public statement, CEO Kwon Oh-hyun admitted that "several workers at our production facilities suffered from leukemia and other incurable diseases, which also lead to some deaths." Kwon said Samsung will provide "appropriate compensation to those who were affected and their families," and that it "should have settled the issue earlier."

South Korean electronics giant Samsung has officially apologized over the illnesses and deaths of some of its factory workers. In a public statement, CEO Kwon Oh-hyun said "several workers at our production facilities suffered from leukemia and other incurable diseases, which also lead to some deaths." Kwon said Samsung will provide "appropriate compensation to those who were affected and their families," after activist groups claimed hazardous working environments caused some employees to contract lethal diseases. "We should have settled the issue earlier, and we are deeply heartbroken that we failed to do so and express our deep apology."

Samsung is embroiled in a health controversy over its potentially dangerous work environments. In 2011, a Seoul administrative court said there was a high probability that Hwang Yu-mi, who died from leukemia in 2007, contracted the disease after coming in contact with dangerous chemicals at a Samsung plant in Suwon. Hwang was one of a number of employees who fell ill after working at a Samsung plant: a documentary released last month uncovered 56 cases of leukemia and other blood cancers among Samsung workers.

The Korean company was accused of trying to use its considerable influence in its home country to downplay health concerns. Leaked text messages suggest Samsung allegedly pressured news publications from covering a movie about Hwang, called Another Promise. Last month, Bloomberg Businessweek used the launch of Samsung's Galaxy S5 smartphone to tell Hwang's story, along with the story of her colleague Lee Suk-yeong. Lee, who worked alongside Hwang in Suwon, also died from leukemia.

Samsung said the apology does not mean it concedes a link between the chemicals used in its chip factories and cancer and other diseases.

Source: The Verge & Youkyung Lee

Read more: http://goodelectronics.org/news-en/two-south-korean-documentaries-highlight-unhealthy-worker-conditions-at-samsung-plants

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