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Samsung says sorry and promises compensation to sick workers

Samsung has said sorry and promised compensation to workers who have fallen ill after working for the company.

Samsung has apologised to employees suffering ill health after working on components for devices like the Galaxy S5 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung has apologised to workers who have fallen ill after working for the company, promising compensation to sufferers of leukemia and other ailments.

"Some of Samsung's former employees have passed away after contracting leukemia or are coping with difficult-to-treat diseases after having worked at our manufacturing facility," a Samsung spokesperson said in a statement to CNET. "We could have been more diligent in addressing the hardship and sorrow of former employees and the families of the deceased... we will make due compensation for former employees battling illness and the families of the deceased."

Korean news agency Yonhap reports that Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun has issued a "deep apology" to affected workers.

Concerns about health risks in Samsung plants have been highlighted recently in "Another Promise", a crowdfunded Korean movie telling the story of a worker at a "Jinsung" factory, based on the real-life story of a Samsung worker who died from a rare form of leukaemia.

Samsung's statement comes in response to pressure group Supporters for the Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry (SHARPS), which claims at least 26 workers in Samsung's Gi-heung and On-Yang plants have contracted blood cancer, and so far 10 have died.

SHARPS alleges that the plant's safety measures, including the protective suits worn by workers, are designed to protect the products rather than the workers, who are exposed to harmful chemicals and rays.

Samsung has agreed to set up an independent mediation group to look at the cases of workers who have fallen ill and agree compensation. Samsung also promises an evaluation of working conditions in its factories.