On 10th April 2012, Samsung occupational victims in the semiconductor industry received a major boost forward in their long struggle.
Below is the statement of SHARPS on April 10 regarding the ruling:
Today, April 10, The Ministry of Employment and Labor announced its recognition of the aplastic anemia suffered by Ms. Jisook Kim as an occupational disease from her work at Samsung Semiconductor Onyang factory. Ms. Jisook Kim is the 18th victim to make a workers’ compensation application with SHARPS.
In SHARPS we believe this recognition of Ms. Kim’s aplastic anemia as an occupational disease by KCOMWEL is a completely correct and sensible judgment.
The work conditions of Ms. Jisook Kim were almost same as for the other victims of Samsung Semiconductor Onyang factory who had applied with SHARPS for workers’ compensation since 2007.
In that time, KCOMWEL had investigated the illnesses (such as leukemia, malignant lymphoma, aplastic anemia and related blood diseases) of the same type as Ms. Kim which had been reported in the same workplace, but it had said that no cancerous materials like benzene could be found, and had repeatedly refused to give recognition of the illnesses as occupational diseases. But now it has recognized the worker’s disease as an occupational one in the case of Ms. Kim’s application.
This essentially shows KCOMWEL’s own recognition that its previous refusals to recognize occupational disease had been wrong.
We can say that with the approval ruling for Ms. Jisook Kim, KCOMWEL has set a new benchmark.
We believe that this opens a path in the future for workers’ compensation approvals for victims of leukemia, malignant lymphoma, aplastic anemia, and other illnesses, not only in Samsung but also in every semiconductor factory.
There are so many cases that should already have been approved for workers’ compensation by now. Although we feel it is very late for KCOMWEL to give approval of workers’ compensation for the first time now, five years after leukemia and other diseases in semiconductor factories had become known, we still gladly welcome the ruling of KCOMWEL based on reason and truthful evidence, even if only now.
Above all, we can’t help but be glad that this recognition ruling will give at least a little comfort to the victims who struggle day by day to cope with their diseases like aplastic anemia.
Moreover, this decision opens the way for workers’ compensation approval for occupational disease victims of Samsung Semiconductor who had previously been rejected for compensation and who are now in civil lawsuits -Chang-ho Song, Eun-kyung Kim, Myeong-hwa Yoo, Yoon-jung Lee, Yoo–mi Hwang (d), Sook-young Lee (d), Min-Woong Hwang (d), and others – as well as other victims.
Lastly, this is the chance for Samsung to stop insisting and deceiving the public that it uses no cancerous chemicals and that the sicknesses of the workers are not occupational. Instead, with the decision of KCOMWEL to recognize Ms. Jisook Kim’s occupation disease, Samsung should admit there was a serious problem in the work conditions at its semiconductor factories, and apologize to the victims and to the public.
For this, the first step of Samsung should be to stop to its interference (application to supplement the lawsuit) in the civil lawsuits of the victims for workers’ compensation.
Original statement in Korean by SHARPS with related statements and documents are here: http://cafe.daum.net/samsunglabor/MHzN/113