Where we stand‎ > ‎News & Comment‎ > ‎

SAMSUNG PAYS $300,000 “AT WILL” by Dave Smith

posted 23 Feb 2014, 11:08 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 24 Feb 2014, 17:46 by Dave Smith ]

Multinational companies are big and powerful. Globally a mere 147 corporations, which form a “super entity”, control 40% of the world’s wealth. These mega-corporations are at the centre of the global capitalist economy. And so they can come into small countries and behave as if nothing matters. This is the colonialism of our age.


Samsung is well known for advanced technology, semiconductors, skyscraper and plant construction, petrochemicals, fashion, medicine, finance, hotels, and more. According to itself “Our flagship company, Samsung Electronics, leads the global market in high-tech electronics manufacturing and digital media.”  Founded in 1969, this Korea-based company set up an office in Trinidad last year. Within a year, they dismissed one of their senior managers.


One of their Human Resources Managers arrived from Miami, waited until the end of the working day, and then just told the worker he had been dismissed. No hearing … no warning … dismissed jus' so!


This is part of the arrogance of multinational companies in that they just think the laws they have in their own countries they can use in Trinidad. They think we are a small country dat doh have no laws ah we own!


In Uncle Sam's land, the land of the free and corporate corruption, workers are often employed under what are called “at will” contracts. What that means is that the worker does not have to give notice and can just leave “at will”.


But the problem is that the employer can do the same and dismiss workers “at will”. No reason, no hearing, no “natural justice”, no procedures. Just go!


When the National Workers Union raised the question of this worker's dismissal with Samsung’s regional office in Miami, we had to remind them that in Trinidad and Tobago, employers must have “cause” to dismiss a worker and need to go through proper procedures.


Samsung was forced to agree to pay the worker TT$300,000 to settle the matter rather than be taken through the Ministry of Labour to the Industrial Court.


But they can afford it. Reports in January 2014 indicate that they made an operating profit of $7.8 billion profit. That's US$, not TT$, of course.


As they say in the adverts: “Imagine what Samsung can do for you”. Or should that be, “Imagine what Samsung can do to you?