By on April 9, 2013

Last week, GM CEO Dan Akerson said that GM might move production away from South Korea if tensions with North Korea escalate. Today, Korea labor unions said Akerson is using the crisis as a pretext to gain the upper hand in upcoming labor talks.

Akerson said that GM is “making contingency plans for the safety of our employees to the extent that we can,” and while it is difficult to quickly shift production from South Korea, GM might just do that for the long-term.

Killing jobs in South Korea would do very little for employee safety. Union spokesman Choi Jong-hak thinks it’s a flimsy argument:

“It is a message by Akerson to the union saying ‘don’t make excessive demands’… They want to make the union feel jittery,” Choi Jong-hak told Reuters. “It is a threat, as the labor union here is seen as a stumbling block for its restructuring of its global production system.”

GM Korea told its union in November that it would not produce the next-generation Cruze compact in South Korea. Unions have threatened “a war” if GM shifts output to Europe.

GM is South Korea’s second-biggest automaker after Hyundai Motor Group.

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5 Comments on “Akerson Uses North Korea To Threaten South Korean Unions...”

  • avatar

    Soon we’ll see Kim Jong Un tooling around in a brand new Cadillac, courtesy of ‘Uncle Dan’.

  • avatar

    What is the issue here? BS and other regularly complain about unions so should, in theory, support assertive management. Unless that management is GM maybe.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “Choi Jong-hak, a spokesman for GM Korea’s labor union, warned the union would “wage a war” if GM shifts output to Europe.”

    I can find the quote now, but Samsung’s CTO mentioned that they would wage a war on Apple’s patents.

    Why is it that so many news coming out from Korea nowdays have to have a threat of war? Must be the spicy food.

    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps they’re taking cues from us declaring war on drugs, poverty, etc.

    • 0 avatar

      They are speaking Korean, and someone is translating into English. The words they use in Korean may have a different cultutral interpretation than “war” in English.

      I speak English and French, which share some common linguistic roots. I get to see how headline-writers and politicians translate words spoken in one language in a way that produces quite a diferent emphasis in the other. If that happens between English and French, I can only imagine how easily it could be accomplished (eve inadvertently) between English and Korean.

      Having said that, it must also be acknowledged that there are very many people in this world who quite enjoy the use of hyperbole and exaggeration to create excitement.

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