GM wants to thin out its South Korean workforce while shifting production to Europe’s higher-wage locations. Korean unions already see it as a declaration of war.
In the name of “organizational efficiency,” GM’s South Korean unit offers “voluntary retirement” to its 7,000 office workers, Reuters writes. Workers who take the golden parachute will receive up to two years’ salary, two years’ school tuition support and a car voucher worth 10 million Korean won ($9,200).
A GM Korea union spokesman said GM Korea “declared a war” against the union. Two weeks ago, GM said it will exclude South Korea from the production of its next-generation Chevrolet Cruze model. It is widely believed that the beneficiary will be Opel, and what is taken away from the Korean unions is supposed to appease German unions.
GM has a 9.4 percent share from in the South Korean market which is dominated by Hyundai and Kia, controlling around 80 percent. South Korea however is a major production base for GM. About a quarter of GM’s global Chevy production is made here, most if not all Chevrolets sold in Europe are made in Korea.