At home, GM is at peace with the unions, benefits of having the UAW as a major shareholder. Abroad, GM Europe has been in a low intensity conflict with the European unions that oppose cuts at Opel. Now, a labor conflict flares up in an unexpected part of the world: Korea.
Workers at GM’s South Korean factories will go on strike for three days next week, Reuters reports. Workers at Hyundai and Kia will vote next week on joining the action, until then, it is GM that is in the crosshairs. Says Reuters:
“GM Korea is one of the U.S. automaker’s key Asia production bases, producing a quarter of GM’s Chevrolet cars sold globally, and 98 percent of cars such as the Cruze and the Aveo subcompact sold in Europe. China is also a major export market for GM Korea’s complete knock-down kits.”
GM’s South Korean labor relations have been frayed ever since there were discussions on moving some of the Korean production to Europe. Choi Jong-hak, a spokesman for GM Korea’s labor union, warned the union would “wage a war” if GM shifts output to Europe.