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Lee Jae-yong is asked to apologize

Mar 12,2020
An independent compliance committee on Wednesday urged Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to issue an apology and address problems regarding labor policies.

The seven-member committee said it sent a letter of suggestion to Lee and seven Samsung-related companies and asked them to come up with measures that can improve their compliance culture.

The committee, led by former Supreme Court Justice Kim Ji-hyung, asked Lee to issue a public apology over a bribery case and a controversial merger of two Samsung affiliates.

Lee was indicted in 2017 for giving bribes to a longtime friend of then-President Park Geun-hye.

The committee also told Lee to announce that Samsung will ditch its “no labor union” policy and prepare measures that can build a healthy labor-management relationship.

In December, Samsung Electronics board Chairman Lee Sang-hoon and a Samsung Electronics vice president were sentenced to 18 months in prison each for sabotaging a labor union.

Samsung had disallowed labor unions for decades, claiming that its policy actually leads the conglomerate to better ensure worker rights and welfare.

In 2012, Samsung said it recognizes the representative of employees as a management partner.

Samsung Group is Korea’s largest chaebol, with 61 affiliates, whose business portfolio ranges from electronics and construction to life insurance, fashion and a theme park.

More than 10 Samsung company, including Samsung Electronics, Samsung SDI and Samsung Securities, have labor unions.

In regard to communication with civil society, the committee recommended that Lee announce measures that can build social trust.

The committee, which was established in January, also advised Lee and Samsung companies to come up with measures that guarantee the committee’s independence and compliance monitoring activities.

“These recommendations are the result of our committee’s commitment to a watchdog role for Samsung’s ethical and law-abiding management,” it said. “We hope our recommendations can signal the start of a new history of Samsung to our society.”

Samsung said it will faithfully review the recommendations. Samsung has 30 days to respond to the committee.

Yonhap