Leaked documents claim Samsung employees overworked

Thomas Wellburn
October 18, 2016

In the wake of safety concerns surrounding the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 handset, a leaked document has revealed that the company working structure could be just as unsafe.

The document shows an internal PowerPoint presentation addressed to Samsung executives dated January 2012. Initially made public by the International Trade Union Confederation, the document focuses on how to stop labour unions being formed and how to deal with them if they do exist. The content is full of typos and errors so it’s hard to confirm authenticity, but the likelihood could also be poor translation to English.

Recommendations for dealing with trade unions include “inducing internal conflicts” between staff and setting up faux management unions to stop lower level workers creating their own. The language used during the presentation is also pretty foul, with numerous references to employees as “troublesome”.  Various examples of the company exploiting workers rights and hurling abuse at employees are also clearly documented, including a vice-president of its electronics division quoted saying: “Fuckheads, you’ve never gotten what I’m saying” to employees.

Samsung labour roles are not valued

In the presentation, there was one remarkable section about an employee called Kim who committed suicide. He had been reportedly working 100 hours of overtime each month for the past nine months, until he eventually “died from overwork”. Samsung tried to rebut this by listing positive cases afterwards which suggested overtime was being used to help the company improve.

it’s worth noting that these revelations are not necessarily about the company as a whole. The document seems to focus primarily on low-level labour roles such as the assembly plants. A writer for Extreme Tech has already jumped to the defense of the way employees are treated over in Silicon Valley, which features a subsidised cafeteria and sleep pods. Clearly, high value employees are treated quite different to those at the bottom, who are seen more as worker ants.

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