Korea labor ministry denies re-opening Samsung toxin case

South Korea's labor ministry has denied reports that it was reevaluating whether there was negligence in its part on to deny access to trade secrets following inquiries about workplace toxins made by ex-employees of a Samsung semiconductor plant.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

South Korea's labor ministry has denied that it was reopening requests by ex-employees of Samsung Electonics' semiconductor plant to see if there was negligence in its decision to block the release of requested information on trade secret grounds.

The Associated Press claimed that the government was planning to review whether there was negligence in its data disclosure process, after it found that it withheld information from workers following requests from Samsung in an earlier report.

A spokesperson for Ministry of Employment and Labor said Monday that the ministry made no such statement and will not reopen its decision to deny the worker's request to access information.

"We denied the worker's access to those data because under law they were deemed trade secrets, not because Samsung requested to us," the spokesperson said.

In its blog, the South Korean tech giant denied that it has used trade secrets to conceal information from workers.

A Samsung spokesman said the company had said everything it needed to say on its official statement.

Hwang Yu-mi, a factory worker at Samsung's semiconductor plant, died from acute leukaemia in 2007 after her four year stint there. Her father Hwang Sang-ki, with families of other ex-workers who died from cancer, formed Banolim, a local lobby group demanding the South Korean tech giant responsibility.

After denying responsibility for seven years, Samsung issued an apology in 2014 and promised to compensate those affected.

It promised to create a $85 million fund to compensate the families last year. Since then, most ex-employee families has been compensated, the South Korean conglomerate said.

The company has also formed a third party committee that will oversee semiconductor operations in an effort to make it hazard proof.

Samsung is the world's largest memory chip maker and the second-largest semiconductor producer based on revenue, after Intel.

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