Samsung Electronics apologises over factory worker cancer cases

Kinam Kim Samsung Electronics President and CEO Device Solutions bows in apology in Seoul on Nov. 23

Kinam Kim Samsung Electronics President and CEO Device Solutions bows in apology in Seoul on Nov. 23

The apology was part of a settlement deal that was struck earlier this month.

It covers 16 types of cancer, some other rare illnesses, miscarriages and congenital diseases suffered by the workers' children. "But I will consider the apology as Samsung Electronics' resolution". "Today, we wish to express a honest apology to the workers who suffered from diseases, as well as their families", Kim added.

Samsung Electronics co-president Kim Ki-nam said in a statement, "We sincerely apologize to the workers who suffered from illness and their families".

The compensation plan, proposed by a mediation committee between Samsung and Banollim, an advocacy group for the victims, included the damages of up to 150 million won (130,000 US dollars) for former and current workers who worked for at least a year at Samsung's chip and LCD factories.

Samsung's apology was made for the first time in 11 years since its former worker Hwang Yu-mi died of leukemia after working for the company's liquid-crystal display production line in 2007.

On Friday, Samsung and victims accepted and inked the mediation plan as agreed in July.

The mediation committee announced the settlement earlier in November. He urged Samsung to compensate other victims from other affiliates.

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Samsung also chose to donate 50 billion won ($44 million) to the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency to help improve workers' safety and health in the country, Kim said.

Despite Samsung's apology and plans for compensation, Hwang expressed disappointment, saying that the tech giant's offer was not enough.

Hwang Sang-ki, founder of Sharps and father of a dead chip factory worker with leukaemia, told Reuters that besides those 200 he expected more workers to apply for compensation, but it would take a long medical process to prove their diseases are directly related to the work environment.

A series of rulings and decisions by courts, Seoul's state labour welfare agency and a mediation committee followed over a period of more than 10 years, culminating in Friday's announcement.

The agreement does not acknowledge that Samsung workplaces are directly related to the diseases suffered by some employees. Claimants can have worked at plants as far back as 1984. Those who have received relevant amounts of compensation will receive a deducted amount in compliance with the mediation plan.

Samsung said the compensation will be carried out by a third party - Jipyong, a South Korean law firm.

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