In most people's understanding, Samsung and LG are direct competitors. While they do compete directly each year in the mobile industry, the overlap between the two companies extends far beyond that of mobile phones. In fact, in most areas where you find an LG product, you will also find a Samsung product. Not to mention of course, they are both companies that operate out of South Korea. So as well as being competitors in most product domains, they are also competitors at a more fundamental level within South Korea.
That said, in spite of competing on most fronts, they are not averse to forming an arrangement with each other and especially if the arrangement benefits both, and if recent reports are to be believed, that is irrespective of whether such arrangements would benefit their employees or not. According to a new report out Reuters today, both Samsung and LG are the subject of a civil lawsuit in the US over an arrangement the companies had, in regards to their workforce(s). More specifically, an arrangement the two companies had to not steal workers from each other.
According to the details coming through, the arrangement came to light due a recruiter reaching out to an LG sales Manager in 2013 with a job opportunity at Samsung. The reach-out was then quickly revoked with the recruiter advising the LG sales manager, that they are under strict orders not to "poach LG for Samsung". The recruiter is also reportedly to have let it slip that "the two companies have an agreement that they won't steal each other's employees."
Of course, this is not the first time that it has been reported that certain companies have formed allegiances in this way and it does make sense form a company point of view, and even more so if the companies in question are ones which directly compete on products, information, data, or otherwise. However, this particular instance has now led to a proposed class action against the two companies on behalf of the employees. At present, there is no official confirmation by either company on these events or the alleged agreement. It also should be pointed out that there is no suggestion that such an arrangement was in place on a global scale. At the moment, this does only seem to be relevant to the US.