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Samsung Electronics board chairman sentenced to jail for union-busting

By Ramla Soni

Lee Sang-hoon and about 25 others have been charged with sabotaging union activities by subcontracted workers at Samsung Electronics Service

Samsung Electronics board chairman Lee Sang-hoon has been sentenced to one and a half years in jail for sabotaging legitimate union activities.

A recent investigation unearthed conclusive evidence that Sang-hoon and about 25 others at Samsung conspired to crush unions and unionising efforts there, in violation of South Korea’s labor laws.

They have now been charged with sabotaging union activities by subcontracted workers at Samsung Electronics’ repair unit, Samsung Electronics Service Co Ltd.

An investigation found that Samsung executives and employees were involved in finding out sensitive information about union members to convince them to leave the union. This resulted in the closure of subcontracting firms with active unions and delayed negotiations between labour and management.

The investigation began in 2013 with the leak of company documents describing methods for combating employee unionisation efforts.

The case against Sang-hoon had previously been dropped, but reopened last year when additional evidence was obtained in a raid on the company for a separate investigation.

These incriminating documents led to further indictments last year and ultimately to Sang-hoon’s sentencing.

The verdict follows last week’s ruling that gave a 16-month jail term to Samsung Electronics Vice-President Kang Kyung-hoon on charges of union-busting activities at now-defunct affiliate Samsung Everland, an amusement park operator and part of Samsung C&T.

Further reading: Samsung patents new AR headset

Further reading: Samsung reveals quarterly profit fell 56% from a year ago

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