Groups call for global actions on Workers’ Memorial Day April 28
“Enough Is Enough” – Global Health & Safety Groups demand accountability from Samsung and the Korean Government
Another cancer death at Samsung but Korean government arrests OHS activists
On March 31, 2010, Park Ji-yeon -- a young worker from Samsung’s Onyang semiconductor factory -- died of leukemia at age 23. Her tragic death came less than one month after Samsung workers, their families, and community supporters participated in the 1st Memorial Week of occupational deaths of semiconductor workers to honor the memory of the many other workers who gave their lives working at Samsung. There are now 23 documented cases of Samsung workers who have suffered from blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma, and 9 workers among them have already died. A petition to support the workers can be read and signed here: http://www.petitiononline.com/s4m5ung/petition-sign.html.
We express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of all who lost their lives after working at Samsung. (Samsung is now one of the world’s most powerful corporations -- they enjoyed record sales of $120.48 billion in 2009 , and now rank # 1 in flat screen TV sales and #2 in mobile phone sales globally).
We collectively grieve this tragic and unnecessary loss of life and express our outrage that occupational cancers are a growing health crisis in the electronics industry. This problem is not confined to Samsung or Korea. This is an industry-wide issue because the companies create unsafe workplaces throughout the world, and unsafe conditions in the communities in which they operate. A series of recent investigations in the US, UK, Taiwan and elsewhere have highlighted an elevated cancer risk in workers in the semiconductor industry (for more information, see http://www.ehjournal.net/content/5/1/30 ). For far too long, electronics industry executives have continued to deny responsibility and have treated chemical exposure and the resulting cancer deaths as simply the cost of doing business. We say “Enough Is Enough!”
Instead of conducting a proper investigation of the occupational nature of the deaths and adopting adequate prevention measures, the Korean government supported Samsung and joined its efforts to silence the growing evidence of a cancer cluster among electronics manufacturing workers at Samsung in Korea who have been exposed to toxic chemicals. On 2nd April there was a funeral ceremony for Park Ji-yeon, followed by a press conference at Samsung headquarters in Seoul to demand accountability from Samsung. The press conference was broken up by the police who then arrested seven of the activists who then shouted to Samsung “You are responsible for the death of Ji-Yeon Park.” They were released 2 days later without charges.
We condemn these actions by Samsung and the Korean government and demand that:
· Samsung acknowledge its responsibility for the cancer deaths of its workers;
· The Korean government enforce its laws against Samsung for its actions rather than punish its workers and their supporters.
We call on Myung-bak Lee, President of Korean Government; Gee-sung Choi, CEO of Samsung Electronics; Tae-hee Yim, the Minister of Labor; Won-bae Kim, the President of COMWEL, the Korea Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service; Min-ki Noh, CEO of KOSHA, – to do everything in their power to end this nightmare and apologize for the callous treatment of the courageous occupational health activists who have brought these serious issues to the attention of concerned people throughout the world.
We also call on our Brothers and Sisters throughout the world to take actions to expose Samsung’s disregard for their workers’ health and the Korean government’s complicity in this tragedy.
To learn more, see the video from Supporters of Health And Right of People in Semiconductor Industry at:
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