The Korean civil society learned in July 2018 that Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI) and Global Competitive Forum has been conducting the policy research on the labor right and human rights protection in Samsung Electronics in Vietnam, and they have a plan to meet international organizations and non-governmental organizations in Vietnam from July 16th to 17th, 2018 as a course of the research. However, we highly doubt their intention of SERI's policy research on labor right and human right protection in Vietnam, as SERI has consistently been establishing strategies for suppressing labor rights in Korea.
According to a report published by IPEN(an international organization of environment and public health which has its headquarter in Sweden) and CGFED(a non-governmental organization in Vietnam) on November 6th, 2017, laborers working at Samsung factories in Vietnam are suffering from severe fatigue induced by excessive overtime work and from frequent miscarriage. However, Samsung Electronics responded to this not by improving the working condition, but by filing lawsuits against the laborers or activists who had participated in interviews or by threatening them to demand the Vietnamese government to initiate criminal proceedings on spreading false information.
As Samsung has strictly prohibited the laborers in the factory at Vietnam from revealing the working condition or working environment to outsiders, a number of laborers cancelled their interviews during the preparation of report in fear of the company's reprisal. After the report was released, Samsung threatened the laborers that they would be sued if they disclose their working condition to outsiders. On May 2018, the human rights experts from the United Nations expressed their concern about such situation.
It would be like keeping a fox in the chicken coop that Samsung tries to conduct the policy research on labor rights and human rights through SERI when they have already stifled the freedom of expression, and oppressed human rights defenders in Vietnam for raising issues regarding labor rights by the Vietnamese civil society. A number of documents revealed that Samsung has systematically established and implemented strategies for destroying labor union for the past 30 years: '87 345 Guidelines' which deterred unionization on March, April, May, the months on which people unionize the most actively; '88 The Fourth Labor-Management Administrative Guideline of Samsung' and '89 Emergency Labor-Management Administrative Guideline' which ranked employees on blacklist and monitored them, '12 S-group Labor-Management Strategy Document' which aimed at disintegration of labor union; and 'Master Plan for Service Stabilization' which strategized the labor unions burn out.
SERI, the organization visiting Vietnam for the research, wrote 'S Group Labor-Management Strategy' in 2012, which was the ground on which Samsung violated the union's right to collective bargaining, faked closure of business, established the yellow union, and held illegal surveillance. Moreover, some of the members of the union who had suffered from unfair dismissal, bribing, threatening, discrimination, and closure of business committed suicide in 2013 and 2014, but Samsung and SERI have never apologized nor undertaken responsibility.
Therefore, the civic society of Korea impeach SERI, which tries to establish and influence labor policies in Vietnam despite its past record of consistently oppressing the labor right and establishing strategies for such oppression. We also demand Samsung and SERI to stop their ongoing suppression of human right and the labor right.
If Samsung is sincerely willing to support the labor right of Vietnamese workers, it should apologize the Samsung laborers in Vietnam and CGFED for its past threatening of lawsuit, and should openly announce that it will no longer oppress their monitoring of labor rights. Moreover, further research for labor right improvement should be conducted not by SERI, but by an organization independent from the influence of Samsung, which can provide the viewpoint on labor rights.
Moreover, Samsung should apologize for establishing 'strategies' for oppressing labor rights and for suppressing laborers in Korea with SERI at the head. Furthermore, Samsung should stop ongoing labor right and human right oppression in Korea and guarantee the laborers' exercising their legitimate rights. Without this, Samsung's research for 'labor right' will never gain confidence from anyone.