Samsung Workers on 3-day Strike, Chip Production Affected

Company says no 'business' impact as workers demand better pay

         Eight-inch wafers are used to produce a wide range of products and applications, from conventional dynamic random access memory (DRAM) to contract chipmaking.

         Samsung struggles to catch up in the race to develop advanced artificial intelligence memory chips, or high-bandwidth memory (HBM) chips.

         SK Hynix has taken the lead in the market by supplying its HBM chips to U.S. chipmaker Nvidia.

         Operating profit increasing more than 15 times to 10.4 trillion won ($7.5 billion).v

 

[ABS News Service/08.07.2024]

Samsung Electronics' biggest trade union said on Monday that semiconductor production had been disrupted by a strike as thousands of its members walked out in a call for bigger pay increases and "fair" bonus standards.

Leaders of the National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) said production lines using 8-inch wafers had "problems" in the morning as 6,540 members of the union joined the first day of a three-day strike. The NSEU said it has 30,000 members, or 24% of the company's 124,000 workforce in the country.

The union did not quantify the extent of the production disruption, and Samsung told Nikkei Asia that there was no impact on its "business."

Eight-inch wafers are used to produce a wide range of products and applications, from conventional dynamic random access memory (DRAM) to contract chipmaking, according to the union.

"Semiconductor lines are much more vulnerable than [management] expected to a strike. We all know that it does not work if just one shift is absent," said Lee Hyun-kook, vice president of the NSEU, during a rally at the company's office in Hwaseong, south of Seoul. "Then it directly affects production. How could the management not understand this when we said we would go on strike?"

The union's YouTube channel showed video of thousands of unionists at a rally in Hwaseong, wearing black raincoats as the seasonal monsoon rains hit the Korean Peninsula.

The strike comes as Samsung struggles to catch up in the race to develop advanced artificial intelligence memory chips, or high-bandwidth memory (HBM) chips. Smaller local rival SK Hynix has taken the lead in the market by supplying its HBM chips to U.S. chipmaker Nvidia.

Samsung's overall performance recovered sharply in the second quarter, with operating profit increasing more than 15 times to 10.4 trillion won ($7.5 billion). But analysts say that the company's future performance will depend largely on whether it is able to supply HBM chips to Nvidia. The qualification process to become an Nvidia HBM supplier is still underway.