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Trouble brewing at Samsung may affect future products

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in Titanium Orange and in Titanium Silver.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

There’s trouble brewing at Samsung, and its serious enough that it has the potential to impact some of the company’s future product releases. A workers strike has been announced by the National Samsung Electronics Union for June 7, where members will use an annual paid leave day to protest over salaries. The union says it has 28,000 members, which is around 20% of Samsung’s total workforce.

Should it go ahead the strike is the first of its kind for Samsung, and while a single day will be help bring attention to the union’s demands, a  spokesperson quoted by The Guardian said it, “could lead to a general strike,” if action isn’t taken, and this could be far more problematic. A report by the BBC says a full-scale strike, “could affect the firm’s computer chip manufacturing and impact the global supply chains of electronics.”

According to an April report by Techmonitor, the majority of the union’s members work in Samsung’s smartphone and semiconductor facilities, and an analyst at Gartner told the publication, “disruptions in operations could have a major negative ripple impact across the entire semiconductor and electronics value chain, potentially creating undersupply and shortages that could lead to price hikes and product delays.”

Samsung is one of the world’s top producers of smartphones and chips, and it works with multiple brands from Xiaomi to Nvidia, and Hyundai to Volkswagen, in addition to producing its own hardware. It’s widely expected to launch the next Z Fold and Z Flip devices, along with the highly anticipated Galaxy Ring smart ring, at some point in July. It’s unclear how any strike action would affect these releases, if at all, as Samsung has not dealt with this situation in the past.

The National Samsung Electronics Union was formed in 2019, after strong resistance from the company’s late founder, following political changes in South Korea and the much publicized legal action against Samsung’s Lee Jae-yong. The union is asking for a higher salary increase, a bonus linked to company performance, and additional annual leave. The announcement of the strike follows a series of protests at Samsung offices. However, not all unions are in favor of the action, and some smaller unions will not take part in the action, according to Reuters.

Samsung states discussions with the union are ongoing.

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