Seoul - South Korean technology giant Samsung on Wednesday apologised to employees who say they suffered cancer as a result of chemical exposure in its chip factories.
The world's largest producer of memory chips and mobile phones promised to pay compensation to survivors and relatives, marking an abrupt shift in Samsung's stance on the years-long movement to hold the company account.
However, a Samsung spokesman said that the apology was not an admission there was a link between the chemicals used in its chip factories and cancer and other diseases that in many cases led to employee deaths.
“We could have been more diligent in addressing the hardship and sorrow of former employees and the families of the deceased,” the company said in a statement.
According to the workers support group Supporters for the Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry (SHARPS), there have been 193 cases of illness among Samsung employees and those of its subsidiaries, of which 73 died.
Of this number, 146 worked at Samsung Electronics, 57 of whom died as a result.
The news comes several weeks after opposition lawmaker Sim San Jeung, SHARPS and the families of victims urged Samsung to come up with measures to help its workers and prevent such cases in future.
Samsung announced that “in accordance to the proposal, all parties will discuss the set up of an impartial independent mediating group,” which will among other things will determine the amount of compensation. - Sapa-dpa