Samsung has reached an agreement with factory workers that are or have been victims of cancer and other illnesses associated with the workplace to establish a committee in charge of checking in on the working conditions at Samsung’s facilities.
The company reportedly signed the agreement with two groups representing the ill workers and their families with the basic idea being that the inspection committee should be able to help prevent further maladies by reporting on and helping to improve the conditions within Samsung’s factories. To that end, Lee Cheol-soo, a law professor, has been chosen to head this ombudsman committee.
The group is intended to start conducting its research this year and continue until 2019, but that could be extended for another three years to 2022. After the committee’s concluded its research, it will release a report on the conditions at Samsung’s plants. At that time, Samsung could potentially criticize or legally oppose the findings — especially if they’re not favorable.
In addition to the third-party committee, Samsung will open a center for providing health care for workers. More generally, the Samsung organization involved in workplace safety and health is scheduled to expand. There’s also talk of the company providing more information about potentially-hazardous chemicals in use at some of its plants.
Questions and concerns about the safety at Samsung facilities has only grown since the 2007 death of Hwang Yu-mi, a former Samsung employee who died of leukemia at 22. In August 2015, the company agreed to set aside $100 billion won (about $82.6 million as of writing) to compensate victims and look into work-related health problems, but the South Korean company and the groups representing the victims haven’t come to an agreement on everything.
"The three parties have reached an agreement amicably on the prevention plans. But their opinions differ on the compensation and apology issues,” the Yonhap News Agency quotes an official from the arbitration group as saying. “The mediation on the two cases are held off for now."
In short, they’re still working on it.