Samsung Electronics Board Chairman Sentenced to Jail for Violating Labour Laws

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South Korean court said on Tuesday Samsung Electronics Co Ltd board chairman Lee Sang-hoon to be sentenced to 18 months jail time for obstructing legitimate union activities and violating South Korean labour union laws.

Lee, 64, who served as Samsung Electronics’ chief financial officer before becoming chairman of the board and around 25 different litigants were accused of undermining union activities by subcontracted labourers at Samsung’s repair unit.

In 2013, the Group’s Samsung Electronics Service presently inoperative office created and actualized procedures to frustrate the union’s activity, Seoul Central District Court ruled.

The company’s employees were, at varying levels, associated with discovering sensitive data about union members to persuade them to leave the union, prompting the conclusion of subcontracting firms with active unions and deferring arbitrations among labour and management.

Samsung Electronics declined to comment on the matter.

“This is a further signal of change for South Korean judicial system, which previously gave lenient sentences to convicted businessmen,” said Park Sang-in, a professor at Seoul National University. Samsung’s new leader, Jay Y. Lee needed to “build industrial relations which are in line with global standards,” he added.

The ruling is followed by a week ago decision by the same court that allowed a 16-month prison term to Samsung Electronics Vice-President Kang Kyung-hoon on charges of union-busting at another Samsung subsidiary.

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