Ms. Park Ji-yeon died on March 31, 2010. The angry group of Samsung electronics worker/cancer victims’ families and their supporters – SHARPs – organized activities to mourn Ji-yeon’s tragic death and condemn Samsung’s lack of responsibility….. but was faced with only more coldness from the ‘great’ multinational corporation.
4/1 Mourning Press Conference
On April 1, SHARPs and Samgsung leukemia Chungnam strategy committee met at the Seoul St Mary’s Hospital at the School of Medicine, Catholic University of Seoul where Ms Park’s funeral was taking place. In the funeral home, they held a press conference sharing their condolences for the deceased Ji-yeon. The participants claimed that “Samsung should not try to evade all responsibility by simply paying for the hospital fees. They should immediately stop this kind of shameless idea.”
Furthermore, they pointed out that “she had no history of genetic disease nor did she even catch a cold easily. The only reason Ji-yeon came down with leukemia is because of the exposure to chemicals and radiation at Samsung as well as the night shifts and the stress.” “The brand value of being a top-tier corporation and also the top most wanted company, Samsung surveilled workers and used violence to prevent labour unions from forming, and suppressed labourers and worked them to death without any safety measures, sending them to their graves. We know that the profitable results of Samsung is built on all this. They set the resolution that “We need to fight and expose this truth and spread the news of Ji-yeon’s unfair death so that she could rest in peace.”
4/2 Seven people leading the commemoration ceremony arrested
On the day of Ji-yeon’s funeral service on April 2, SHARPs and 10 other people were about to march from St Mary’s hospital to Samsung’s main building with banners and pickets. However, they were stopped by the police that dispersed the crowd.
Furthermore, the police also stopped the silent protest that was to take place near the Samsung main building.
An informal press conference was held to conclude the situation, but the informal ten-person press conference that even had no microphone was quickly dispersed by the police as an illegal assembly within ten minutes. Seven of them were taken to the police station.
On April 3, SHARPs and others held a denunciation press conference in front of the Seocho police station for the coercive arrest of the seven people. They were discharged within 45 hours.
SHARPs, the Korea House for International Solidarity (KHIS), and Asian Transnational Corporations (ATNC) Monitoring Network met on March 25 afternoon near Samsung semiconductor Kihong factory to hold a mass rally to express: ‘Samsung take responsibility for the cluster of leukemia in semiconductor workers’ and ‘condemn Samsung’s anti-union policy!’.
This was possible due to ‘joint international action to denounce repression of trade unions in Asia’. Participants gathered in the rain and held banners that had the unified motto ‘let’s fight for the right to work without dying’ and marched to the factory dormitory entrance. They all petitioned to fight for the Samsung workers’ rights.
(translated from Korean, SHARPs Newsletter No. 2)