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Workers Pay The Highest Price Of Large Screen TVs With Illness, Deaths, And Suicides

The price we pay as consumers of our slim line large screen LED/LCD TVs is coming down year by year, whilst the price being paid by workers in the industry is the highest that can ever be paid – their lives!

One of the worlds biggest manufacturers of TVs, mobile phones, computers, laptops and tablet PCs, is Samsung. It is also been the target of health and safety campaigns aimed at forcing the company to recognise the deaths incurred as a result of working in their factories; and take public responsibility.

The International Campaign for Health and Labour Rights of Samsung Electronics Workers (SHARPS) is composed of independent labour unions (KCTU), human right groups, occupational safety and health (OSH) groups, progressive political parties, and workers’ organisations against Samsung.

Their goals are quite simple:

  • To reveal the truth about the health and workers’ rights conditions in the electronics industry and in Samsung
  • To achieve proper compensation for worker victims
  • To achieve workers’ fundamental rights in Samsung
  • To resist the globalization of neoliberalism

Their website provides news of the tragedies unfolding in the factories as a result of suicides of workers and of the deaths of long-term employees as a result of the manufacturing processes being used.

As a result of their successful campaign the group can claim victory in forcing Samsung to publically recognise the death through breast cancer of a mother of two, DE Kim, who died age 36, three years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She worked for Samsung from 1995 to 2000.

The campaign group’s website reports that:

“KCOMWEL announced its recognition of the death of Ms. D.E. Kim from breast cancer as an occupational death from her work at Samsung Semiconductor plant.

This is the second recognition of occupational disease of Samsung Semiconductor workers by Korean governments. The first case was aplastic anemia.

The decision of KCOMWEL to compensate for her death was made based on its recognition of work-relatedness of her cancer with exposures to radiation, hazardous chemicals, and shift work with night work which is classified as a probable human carcinogen by IARC.

It is known that 70~80% of breast cancer is developed by environmental factors. It is very rare to get malignancy like breast cancer at age of early 30′s. Night shift known as a carcinogen to human and stress which can disturb immunity as well as chemicals and radiation can contribute to develop the breast cancer of Ms.Kim.”

The SHARPS website concludes their article by calling for the Ministry of Labour and Employment to be more active in prevention of occupational diseases by eliminating hazardous chemicals, reducing night work, and implementing protective policies for workers, as well as becoming more active in the recognition of occupational disease to secure workers’ health and safety.

“Most of all, Samsung should apologize to all the workers and their family who has been suffering from occupational diseases, and take a responsible and transparent steps to prevent further tragedy.”, they say.

Read the full story here

Source: SHARP / TUC Risks

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