STORY: A workers' union at Samsung Electronics staged its first ever walkout on Friday over demands for better pay.

The National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU), whose 28,000 members make up over a fifth of the workforce, took action following the company's decision to increase wages by 5.1% this year.

Now the union wants further improvements to bonuses and annual leave, but president Son Woo-Mok said Samsung refuses to recognize the union:

"Due to the unilateral communication from the company, which has been consistently making all wage decisions and continuing its anti-democratic practices, employees can't take it anymore. Therefore, we are here today to declare a strike and launched our first walkout."

This assertiveness among employees comes just as South Korea's tech giant races to catch up with rivals in AI chip manufacturing.

Analysts said the walkout, which fell a day after a public holiday, is unlikely to impact semiconductor production or shipments.

But it will add pressure on Samsung's attempts to narrow the gap with Taiwan's top chipmaker TSMC.

An NSEU official told Reuters the union was preparing further action on Friday, without providing details.

And did not disclose how many members participated in the strike.

Samsung said there was no impact on production or business activity.

The strike follows protests in recent weeks outside both the company's Seoul offices and a chip production site south of the capital.

Last week, a coalition of five unions at Samsung affiliates called on the NSEU to pursue negotiation rather than confrontation, indicating they would not join the strike.