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Are Tech Companies Making Profits Over the Cost of Human Lives? South Korean electronics-maker Samsung Electronics apologised to workers who developed cancer while working at its semiconductor factories

By Komal Nathani

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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The growing breed of tech startups and companies believes it's changing the world for the better. But inside those coolest offices, the big promises by the companies have become a big menace for the factory workers.

Recently, the South Korean electronics maker Samsung Electronics apologised to workers who developed cancer while working at its semiconductor factories, after a decade-long dispute with workers. The co-president of Samsung said in a press statement, "We sincerely apologise to the workers who suffered from illness and their families."

According to the news agency AFP, the affected workers will get the compensation amount of up to 150 million won ($182,000) per case. The semiconductor factories of Samsung had reportedly affected 320 workers in the company, out of which 118 of them are dying.

Apparently, Samsung is not the only tech company that has allegations of work culture affecting the employees' health. From Silicon Valley to the much-touted tech China's tech manufacturing sector, the lives of factory workers are miserable in tech companies.

Behind those fast-delivery claims by companies and government's campaigns to become the highest revenue maker in the world, the workers are working to death.

Black Friday Woes of Amazon Workers

Workers across the UK and Europe are protesting against the working conditions of the biggest e-commerce company Amazon. The company's aggressive push to workers has come across due to excessive orders on the occasion of Thanksgiving and Black Friday purchases of consumers.

Hundreds of workers held demonstrations by GMB Union at five Amazon sites in the UK, including Milton Keynes, Warrington, Peterborough, Swansea and Rugeley today, potentially spelling chaos for the retailer on what is poised to be its biggest day of the year.

A pregnant lady who was working at UK warehouse revealed how she had to stand for 10 hours constantly for work. In a statement on Wednesday, GMB general secretary Tim Roache said, "Amazon's factory workers were "not robots', calling on the company to negotiate with the union."

"The conditions our members at Amazon are working under are frankly inhuman," he added. The workers at its are breaking bones, being knocked unconscious and being taken away in ambulances.

"We're standing up and saying enough is enough, these are people making Amazon its money. People with kids, homes, bills to pay — they're not robots.

The workers worldwide have come together with one message for billionaire Jeff Bezos. "We are not robots, treat us with dignity and respect," said a video by GMB Union on Twitter.

Not allowed to dial 911

At the global electric car-maker company Tesla's warehouses, the medical staff is not allowed to call at 911 for a medical emergency without the permission of doctors. A report by a nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting, Reveal, disclosed that instead of calling for an ambulance, Tesla medical clinic staff would order a ride from Lyft and direct it to the emergency rooms.

The report also added that the workers—including those with severe injuries—were sent back to the factory production line without any treatment or painkillers.

The company denied the allegations and did not want to make a comment on it when the news came on social media.

Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!


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