Samsung Pays Cancer Claims to Koreans Seeking Early Settlement

Though Samsung Electronics maintains there is no direct correlation between its now renovated Korean chip plants and high levels of cancer in workers, the company announced Wednesday that it has compensated 30 former employees who agreed to early settlements.

“We provide this financial support regardless of whether there may be a correlation between the workplace environment and employee illness,” Samsung said.

The 30 are part of a total of 90 former Samsung employees who have submitted official requests for early compensation. There are still more awaiting resolution through other compensation settlements reported.


 

“Samsung has compensated those who wanted to close the issue,” the company said in a statement reported in the Korea Times. “We expect to finish settlements with 20 workers additionally by the end of this month.”

South Korean activist group Sharps, which speaks for many of the cancer-stricken workers, claims that as many as 200 people became severely ill after working at Samsung semiconductor plants in South Korea –with 70 of those having died the group claims.

Marking a major turning point in a nearly decade-long dispute, Samsung issued its first public apology to affected workers and their families in May 2014.

In August of this year, Samsung agreed to establish an $85.8 million fund to make financial aid available to workers and their families.


 

Samsung also issued a letter of apology to those eligible for compensation, signed by Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun.

Samsung has set a deadline for compensation requests at Dec. 31.

Ongoing fight

In 2011, a Seoul court found that the deaths of two Samsung workers from leukemia were related to their work at Samsung and ordered the Korea Workers’ Compensations & Welfare Service agency to pay the worker’s families.

In 2013 a South Korean court ruled in favor of Kim Kyung-mi, who died of leukemia in 2009 at the age 29.

The 2013 case, in which Samsung was also not the defendant, a three judge panel found a “considerable causal relationship” between Kim’s leukemia and her five years working at Samsung’s chip factory in Giheung between 1999 and 2004.

Once again an agency was blamed when the court found that their studies neglected to sufficiently evaluate exposure to chemicals. The Korea Workers’ Compensations & Welfare Service was ordered to pay Kim’s family.

The courts placed partial blame on Samsung, saying, “Samsung Electronics, which did not preserve information of chemical materials used during Kim’s work and did not disclose some data citing trade secrets, is partly a cause.”

Samsung responded to the 2013 ruling saying:

“While the court’s decision appears to have been based on probability, as a party that was not a part of the proceedings, we feel that it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the matter. Regardless, Samsung’s top priority has always been ensuring the health and safety of every person we employ.”

The lines where Kim and the others who died worked were shut down and renovated by Samsung after 2006.

The company has opened two websites with information on compensation guidelines:  www.healthytomorrow.co.kr and www.samsungtomorrow.com.

The Staff

The Staff

Gettin' it done, when the done needs gettin'.

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