​Samsung close to finally settling leukemia controversy

Samsung Electronics and Banolim, a rights group formed by family members of ex-Samsung employees who died from cancer, have finally agreed on a settlement that will be announced in October.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

Samsung Electronics and a workers rights group have finally agreed to accept a settlement that will be announced later in the year.

The South Korean tech giant and Banolim, a rights group formed by family members of ex-Samsung employees who died from cancers allegedly stemming from the company's factories, said they would accept a third-party mediation group. The two signed an agreement to settle the issue on Tuesday, at law firm Jipyong's office in Seoul.

Kim Ji-hyung, ex-Supreme Court justice chairing the committee, and Samsung and Banolim representatives held a signing ceremony ahead of the announcement of the settlement to show good faith.

Kim told journalists that the committee will work hard to reach a final decision that can be accepted by both parties.

"Samsung Electronics believes that only a complete resolution will help the families heal and will accept the committee's forthcoming decision," added Samsung Electronics senior VP Kim Sun-shik at the press conference.

The mediation committee will announce the final settlement agreement between September and October this year.

The controversy started back in 2007 when the daughter of Hwang Sang-gi, who currently chairs Banolim, died from leukemia after working at Samsung's semiconductor plant in Giheung.

Hwang then gathered other members who had family members die in similar circumstances to form the rights group, which has since staged protests at Samsung's headquarters in Seoul and Suwon.

Samsung first apologised and agreed to compensate workers back in 2014. It formed a $85 million fund to compensate ex-workers.

While some families already settled the issue, Banolim was the last group still negotiating a final deal.

In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled against the families in a lawsuit with Samsung, saying it was hard to conclusively link the work environment to the onset of cancer.


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