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Samsung to announce stance on deaths of employees from leukemia

2014/04/14 11:25

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Monday it will soon announce its official position on the sufferings and deaths of its semiconductor workers from leukemia that family members and activist groups blame on the exposure to lethal chemicals at its plants.

Rep. Sim Sang-jung of the minor opposition Justice Party had said on Wednesday she will propose a bill urging Samsung to apologize and compensate the families of the victims who died from leukemia after working at the firms' chip-making facilities. Advocacy groups claim tens of Samsung's workers died from diseases, including leukemia.

Kim Jun-shik, an executive vice president of Samsung Electronics, said the company has taken note of the proposals by Sim and family members. "We are reviewing the proposals in a sincere manner," Kim said. "The Samsung management will make an official statement in response."

   He did not provide further details, including whether the company was reviewing the proposals positively.

Several workers at Samsung's semiconductor plants have been diagnosed with leukemia and other diseases over the years, but the company denies that the working conditions at the plants are to blame. Critics demand an open and thorough investigation, which they charge Samsung of eluding.

"Seven years have passed since the problem was first raised in 2007," said Sim. "However, the victims and their families still have not received apologies or compensation from Samsung.

"Although the issue has been raised at national audits every year, Samsung has been neglecting the sufferings of the victims in an insincere manner," Sim added. "Samsung should no longer turn away from the truth and make efforts to solve the problem."

   Local advocacy groups have taken on the cause since 2007 after Hwang Yumi, an employee at Samsung's chip-making facilities in Giheung, just south of Seoul, died in March from leukemia.

A movie based on the story, titled "Another Promise," was released in February this year. Samsung responded through a post on its official blog that was written by a communications official, claiming the company is being unjustly vilified.