Samsung flouts human rights and endangers workers

Saturday 9 December 2017

The right to join a trade union and the right to collective bargaining are basic, human rights recognised by the UN International Labour Organisation. Yet many well-known multi-national companies do not recognise trade unions, and do not negotiate with trade unions on pay and working conditions.

International and European Trade Unions are joining forces for Human Rights Day (December 10) to name and shame multinational brands and household names that refuse to negotiate with trade unions.


This electronics company has a no-union policy in its factories and workplaces, and intervenes to prevent the formation of unions at its suppliers. Samsung accumulates billions in profits at the expense of its workers. It has a well‐documented history of labour abuses in its supply chain – from union busting, poverty wages, insecure and unsafe work, to forced overtime, informal work and modern slavery. Workers are working in such appalling circumstances that in some countries the company has had to remodel its dormitories to prevent employees from committing suicide. It is time for Samsung to guarantee a fair living wage and trade union participation and representation for its workers.

With the European Commission, International Monetary Fund, and other institutions increasingly recognising the need for wage increases to drive economic growth, and tackle inequality, the right to collective bargain is vital not only for working people, but for the economy and social justice.

Samsung likes to promote itself as a modern, family-friendly brand, but their attitude to trade unions is strictly 19th century. There should be no place in a modern economy for companies that do not negotiate with trade unions. Collective bargaining between employers and trade unions is the best way to get sensible pay rises that benefit workers, company productivity and the economy as a whole.