May 15, 2018 / 8:59 AM / a year ago

South Korea orders arrest of Samsung official over union sabotage claim

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at its office building in Seoul, South Korea, March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean court issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday for a senior official of a unit of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd as prosecutors investigate whether the conglomerate sabotaged workers’ efforts to strengthen labor unions.

Unions at Samsung Group, the country’s biggest conglomerate, tend to be small and weak, prompting criticism from politicians and civic groups for not engaging with organized labor, but Samsung Electronics’ repair unit recently agreed to hire temporary workers as regular staff and recognize their union.

In a statement, the Seoul Central District Court said it granted the warrant for the official, identified only by the surname Choi, because of concerns over destruction of evidence.

Prosecutors are investigating Samsung’s repair service unit over suspected sabotage of labor union activities by company management, prosecution officials have said.

A spokeswoman for Samsung Electronics said the company was aware of the probe but offered no further comment.

Prosecutors investigated similar accusations after a lawmaker disclosed a document in 2013 that she said contained Samsung’s guidelines on how to stop employees from organizing unions.

But that case was dropped as prosecutors could not verify the source of the document.

Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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