“I suffered panic disorder and had to constantly fight the urge to jump off. … I hope Samsung will now really guarantee all union activities of all employees,” he added.
Kim’s decision to end his protest came weeks after Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong, currently on trial over corruption charges, apologized for the firm’s previous “no labor union” policy that lasted for decades until last year.
Lee Sang-hoon, the former chairman of Samsung Electronics, was also jailed last year for sabotaging union activities.
The firm apologized to Kim in a statement for “failing to promptly solve the issue”.
Kim’s airborne picket was “a superhuman effort”, Vladimir Tikhonov, professor of Korean Studies at the University of Oslo, told AFP.
“Samsung kept him in the air for a year, thus demonstrating to any other would-be labor activists at its factories that, in case they might wish a fight, the fight is going to be cruel.”
Samsung is by far the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates, or chaebols, that have propelled South Korea’s rise to the world’s 12th largest economy.
The firm’s overall turnover is equivalent to a fifth of the national gross domestic product and it is crucial to South Korea‘s economic health.
Its Samsung Electronics subsidiary is also the world’s largest smartphone maker.