​Samsung reaches conclusion of 11 year leukemia controversy

Samsung Electronics has reached a final settlement with the group representing the families of ex-employees who died from leukemia and other cancers while working at the company's semiconductor plants.

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Kim Ki-nam, CEO of Samsung Electronics' Device Solutions Business, shakes hands with those of Banolim, a workers' rights group representing the families of ex-employees of the company that died from cancers.

(Image: Cho Mu-Hyun/ZDNet)

Samsung Electronics has apologised and reached a final settlement with Banolim, the group representing the families of ex-employees who died from leukemia and other cancers while working at the company's semiconductor factories.

The South Korean tech giant's settlement with Banolim ends the 11 year long controversy that has marred the company. The issue started when Hwang Yu-mi, the daughter of Banolim head Hwang Sang-ki, died of leukemia in 2007.

Samsung and the workers' rights group agreed to accept the decision of a third-party mediation committee in July.

The South Korean tech giant has been compensating victims who are not associated with Banolim since September, 2015, after making its formal apology in 2014.

Samsung, Banolim and the committee held a signing ceremony in Seoul attended by left-leaning politicians and hundreds of reporters.

Under the agreement, the South Korean conglomerate will compensate any employee who became sick from working in the company's semiconductor and LCD lines from May 17, 1984 onwards, where Samsung built its first chip line at Giheung.

Compensation amounts will be determined based on when and where an employee worked, and the kind of sickness they contracted. Those who suffered leukemia will receive up to 150 million won, or around US$130,000. The law firm Jipyong will settle the compensation amounts.

Samsung will also contribute 50 billion won (US$44 million) to the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency.

"We have not sufficiently and completely managed the dangers to health at our semiconductor and LCD factories," said Kim Ki-nam, CEO of Samsung Electronics' Device Solution Business, who bowed in apology. "We truly apologize to the families of employees who suffered from disease."

"We will take this opportunity to become a safer and healthier workplace," Kim added.

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