South Korean electronics firm Samsung has issued an apology to employees who developed cancer while working for the company.
At a press conference, the Samsung's Chief Executive Kwon Oh-hyun said: "Some of the employees working at our company are suffering from incurable diseases, including leukemia, and some have passed away. ... We will make appropriate compensation to those who were affected and their families." (Via Businessweek)
Kwon said the company should have addressed the issue earlier but stopped short of admitting to any connection between the illnesses and working at Samsung. (Via Arirang)
The response comes as the company faces pressure from Supporters for the Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry, or SHARPS. The group claims at least 26 workers have developed blood-related cancers and 10 have died.
According to CNET: "SHARPS alleges that the plant's safety measures, including the protective suits worn by workers, are designed to protect the products rather than the workers, who are exposed to harmful chemicals and rays."
This has been a hot topic in the East Asian country after the release of two films on the issue. The first, "Another Promise," is a fictionalized account of the life of a Samsung worker who died from leukemia in 2007. (Via OAL / "Another Promise")
The Korea Herald called it "a meaningful achievement in Korean cinema, as well as for Korean democracy."
The second film, a documentary titled "The Empire of Shame," claimed to have uncovered a further 56 cases of leukemia or other blood-related cancers in Samsung plants. (Via CinemaDAL / "The Empire of Shame")
Samsung came under fire earlier this year for allegedly pressuring a South Korean newspaper to stop covering "Another Promise." (Via The Verge)
A third party mediation group has been assigned to evaluate each case and reach compensation agreements. Samsung has also agreed to evaluate working conditions in its factories.