Samsung’s Historic Strike: Understanding the Impact for Investors

Samsung Electronics, a cornerstone of the global tech industry, is on the brink of a historic event. For the first time since its founding in 19691, Samsung’s labour union has announced a strike. This move by the National Samsung Electronics Labor Union (NSELU), which includes around 4,800 members2, represents a significant shift in Samsung’s labour dynamics, and its repercussions could extend far beyond the company itself.

The Roots of Unrest

Labour unrest in South Korea isn’t new. Since the 1970s, the country has seen significant labour movements, predominantly in the auto industry with giants like Hyundai and Kia3. However, this upcoming strike at Samsung marks a new chapter. It’s the first time a major technology company in Korea is facing such a high-profile strike. The union’s demands include a 6.5% wage hike versus Samsung’s offer of 5.1% and better working conditions.4 When arbitration talks failed, the National Labor Relations Commission granted the union the right to strike.

Why This Timing Matters

The timing of this strike is particularly critical as it coincides with ongoing semiconductor supply chain challenges. Samsung plays a pivotal role in this sector, accounting for about 20% of the global DRAM market and around 40% of the NAND flash market as of 20235. Any disruption in Samsung’s operations could have a ripple effect, impacting not just semiconductor equipment manufacturers like ASML, but also chip production for companies such as Nvidia and major hyperscalers including the Mag7 (Microsoft, Apple. Nvidia, Alphabet, Amazon, Meta and Tesla).6

Potential Impacts on the Market

What does this mean for investors? While the strike could initially cause disruptions, it’s essential to view this event within a broader context. If the strike persists, we might see a temporary increase in chip prices. Competitors like SK Hynix and Micron Technology could potentially benefit from this scenario. However, SK Hynix could also face internal challenges if the labour movement gains momentum and spreads.

Despite these potential short-term disruptions, Samsung’s robust financial health provides a buffer. The company is well-positioned to navigate these negotiations, and meeting the union’s demands might be necessary to prevent long-term operational issues. Historical precedents from Hyundai and Kia’s past strikes suggest that resolution timelines could span from weeks to months7, influenced by negotiation dynamics and external pressures.

Strategic View: What to Expect

This strike could also trigger broader labour actions across South Korea. Other key companies might see increased union activities or even strikes, indicating a potential domino effect within the industry. However, it’s important to note that South Korea has a strong history of labour negotiations, and resolutions are often reached that balance worker demands with corporate stability.

For investors, understanding these dynamics is crucial. The outcome of Samsung’s labour negotiations could set a precedent for the tech industry, influencing market dynamics and investment strategies in the semiconductor sector. While it’s natural to be cautious about potential disruptions, it’s equally important to recognize the resilience and adaptability of major players like Samsung.


This moment in Samsung’s history is not just a corporate milestone but a significant event with the potential to reshape the global tech landscape. As always, staying informed and agile in response to such developments will be key for investors navigating this evolving scenario. By closely monitoring how Samsung handles this unprecedented strike, investors can make more informed decisions that balance caution with strategic foresight.

Related Funds

GXAI: The Global X Artificial Intelligence ETF (ASX: GXAI) invests in global companies involved in AI development, AI-as-a-service, provide AI compute power, or design and manufacture AI hardware.

SEMI: The Global X Semiconductor ETF (ASX: SEMI) invests in leading companies along the semiconductor value chain including designers, technology developers and manufacturers.