In 2007, Yu-mi Hwang, 22 year-old woman who had worked at Samsung's Gijeung semiconductor plant, died of leukemia. Yu-mi’s father suspected that her and many other workers’ deaths were connected to exposure to toxic chemicals on the job. Over 200 Samsung workers have been affected by their toxic exposures and more than 70 of them have died so far.
On behalf of a newly formed global justice and human rights network, leaders from a wide range of civil society organizations from in Asia, Europe, Africa, North and South America, have released an open letter to Kwon oh hyun, CEO of Samsung Electronics. The key demand is that the South Korean technology giant adopts the recent recommendations of a prestigious Mediation Committee.
According to one of the recommendations Samsung will have to fund an independent non-profit foundation and resolve all outstanding issues arising from the cluster of occupational diseases such as leukaemia and lymphoma among Samsung workers.
Initial signatories include a wide range of trade unions and civil society organizations including IndustriALL Global Union, Good Electronics, Asia Monitor Resource Centre.
According to the signatories of the open letter, Samsung should agree to the Mediation Committee’s recommendation and establish a body of outside experts to resolve the following key issues of compensation and prevention:
- How to fairly determine which workers are entitled to how much compensation, based on their diseases and seniority;
- How much transparency about hazardous chemicals is necessary, and how to define legitimate trade secrets;
- How much and what quality of chemical and health monitoring needs to be done (and made public);
- How to develop an effective strategy for assessing and incorporating safer chemicals into production in order to prevent future diseases.
The letter states:
“The key to assuring effective prevention strategies in the future is through the proposed foundation, made up of a wide range of independent experts who can help you become a respected leader in occupational and environmental health, matching your leadership in global technology.”
“If Samsung insists on controlling all of these key decisions by yourselves, you will fail to achieve the acceptance and labour peace that you profess to desire.”
To support and endorse the open letter follow the link http://bit.ly/1La7vy8