After years of denials, Samsung Electronics has offered an official apology to its former workers who are suffering from or have died from diseases allegedly brought on by their working environments.
Samsung Electronics vice chairman Kwon Oh-hyun made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that the company was sincerely sorry for having neglected the pain of the victims and their families, and for not having settled the issue earlier.
The company promised proper compensation and said it would abide by the decisions made by an independent third-party panel of mediators.
Samsung also vowed to check the safety of its semiconductor production facilities, and to come up with concrete measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
The overall dispute came to light in 2007 when Hwang Yu-mi, a former employee at a Samsung semiconductor production plant, died of leukemia at the age of 23. Similar cases followed, with employees dying of rare blood-related diseases.
Family members attribute their exposure to chemicals at factories as the cause. However Samsung had denied the claim and resisted offering an apology.
The apology finally came about a month after Sim Sang-jeung, a progressive party lawmaker, called on the company to apologize to the more than 200 workers who developed rare cancers or died after working at semiconductor plants.