On behalf of a newly formed global justice and human rights network, leaders from a wide range of civil society organizations from two dozen countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, North and South America, released an Open Letter to Kwon oh hyun, CEO of Samsung Electronics. The key demand is that the South Korean technology giant adopt the recent recommendations of a prestigious Mediation Committee by funding an independent non-profit foundation to resolve all outstanding issues arising from the cluster of occupational diseases (such as Leukemia and Lymphoma) among Samsung workers. Initial signatories include representatives from IndustriALL Global union, Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Good Electronics, Green America and the International Trade Union Congress, Noam Chomsky, as well as dozens of other diverse groups and leaders from around the world.
In particular, the group insists that Samsung agree to the Mediation Committee’s recommendation to establish a body of outside experts to resolve the following key issues of compensation and prevention that are at stake:
1. How to fairly determine which workers are entitled to how much compensation, based on their diseases and seniority;
2. How much transparency about hazardous chemicals is necessary, and how to define legitimate trade secrets;
3. How much and what quality of chemical and health monitoring needs to be done (and made public);
4. How to develop an effective strategy for assessing and incorporating safer chemicals into production in order to prevent future diseases.
The letter states: “The key to assuring effective prevention strategies in the future is through the proposed foundation, made up of a wide range of independent experts who can help you become a respected leader in occupational and environmental health, matching your leadership in global technology.”
In addition, the leaders assert: “If these issues are to be resolved with the credibility and acceptance that they require, there need to be assurances to the public and to the workers and their families that these decisions will be made by an independent, credible expert body. If Samsung insists on controlling all of these key decisions by yourselves, you will fail to achieve the acceptance and labor peace that you profess to desire.”
Organizations and individuals who support this Open Letter are encouraged to endorse it at http://bit.ly/1LA7vy8