In Korea, when we fail or are disappointed, we encourage ourselves quoting a common saying “don’t give up until the third trial”.
The funeral usually takes three days. Even though I don’t know the exact historical base, but we feel the “three” as a complete, comfortable number.
However, today is the ninetieth day from Joohyun’s death. He was twenty-five years old when he entered Samsung LCD as an engineer. His family still remembers how much he was happy to be a “Samsung-man”.
But Joohyun’s dream was totally destroyed.
Joohyun had suffered from skin disease due to chemicals which he could not know even the names of. So he had to move from the production line into a material supplying department.
But as before, he had to work more than 12 hours a day. He had to go to work whenever he got a call, even on holidays.
Also he was totally isolated in his dormitory. There was no one with whom he could talk about because all the room mates had different work shift schedules. Moreover, more than three hundreds of cameras were watching everywhere to prevent workers assemblying.
Finally he got depression.
During the sick leave for two months, he looked to overcome his illness. But as the day to return to work was coming, he became irritable and anxious again.
A few days before the end of his sick leave, Joohyun visited the company to get counseling. After coming back from the company, he told his family that he should return to work, in the production line again. There was no other choice but to return to work – if he refused, he must quit his job.
The day was the first day of returning to work. Joohyun couldn’t sleep at all. He wandered here and there in the dormitory, and all his activities were recorded by hundreds cameras – even his four attempts to jump to his death.
Where is the justice?
Joohyun’s family have been demanding Samsung to apologize and take responsible action, because both Joohyun’s depression and death were not just individual problems.
According to the law, the company should:
– not force workers to work such a long time
– not force a sick worker to work in ain improper job
– guarantee the safety of workplaces and dormitories
– prevent workers’ physical and mental illness from working condition
So the family asked the local office of Ministry of Labor to investigate Joohyun’s working conditions, and to the police to investigate what had happened on the very day of Joohyun’s death.
At first, the response from both governmental organizations were the same: silence and ignorance. To tell a long story briefly, it took 90 days for them to do what they must do.
Recently, the local office of MOL have found a few illegal practices of Samsung, a small but clear evidence that can show the working conditions in Samsung plants are not different from that of a sweatshop. Finally, they will send the documents to the public prosecution office tomorrow.
That’s the reason why the family of Joohyun could not carry out his funeral until now. They just want to see where the justice is. And it has taken 90 days from his death…
Today, Joohyun’s father told me:
“I think this is a new beginning. My family have already been tired so much, but we can’t stop here. We must watch the prosecutor. I told my wife and daughter that we must keep fighting, and that don’t forget what we have been demanding – our demand is that Samsung must apologize and take their responsibility for my son’s death.”
April 20 will be the 100th day from Joohyun’s death.
Let’s demand Samsung to get responsibility.
Let’s demand the Korean government to do their duty to watch the company and to punish its illegal practice.
Let’s add our voices to this lonely struggle of family who lost their youngest one.
Please think and act whatever you can add your voices to this struggle before the 100th day is coming.
Justice for all can’t be achieved without justice for the weakest people.
Supporters for Health And Rights of People in Semiconductor Industry (SHARPs)