Chairman of Samsung Electronics sentenced to jail on union-busting charge

A south Korean court has jailed Lee Sang-hoon, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd board Chairman following a sentence of up to 1-1/2 years in jail.

Lee Sang-hoon has been charged for sabotaging legitimate union activities, said the South Korean court.

Along with Lee around 25 other defendants were charged with sabotaging union activities by subcontracted workers at Samsung Electronics’ repair unit, Samsung Electronics Service Co Ltd.

In a ruling, the South Korean held that when union activities started taking shape at Samsung Electronics Service in 2013, the group’s now-defunct elite strategy office developed and implemented schemes to hinder the union’s operation.

Employees along with Samsung executives, to different degrees, were involved in the gathering of sensitive information on union members and tried to “convince them to leave the union, while inducing the closure of subcontracting firms with active unions and delaying negotiations between labor and management”.

The verdict comes in the wake of last week’s ruling by the same court that awarded a 16-month jail sentence to Samsung Electronics Vice-President Kang Kyung-hoon on charges of union-busting activities at the now-defunct affiliate Samsung Everland.

“We humbly accept that the companies’ understanding and view towards labor unions in the past fell short of society’s expectations,” said Samsung Electronics and Samsung C&T.

Park Sang-in, a professor at Seoul National University, described the verdicts as “a further signal of change for South Korean judicial system, which previously gave lenient sentences to convicted businessmen”.

He went on to add, Samsung’s new leader, Jay Y. Lee, will need to “build industrial relations which are in line with global standards”.

Categories: Creativity, Economy & Finance, Entrepreneurship, HR & Organization, Regulations & Legal, Strategy

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