GM Korea Workers Vote To Strike Amid Stalling Negotiations

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
gm korea workers vote to strike amid stalling negotiations

Amid stalling wage and production negotiations between GM Korea and its workers, the latter have voted to strike.

Reuters reports 69 percent of the 14,016-strong workforce voted to put down their tools and walk out for the fourth consecutive year unless a deal is reached between the workers’ union and management over a change in GM Korea’s 60-year-old wage scheme along with a production increase. A representative for the union claimed that “both sides remain committed to reaching a fair and reasonable labour agreement based on mutual trust and understanding,” however.

The demands come on the heels of a 2013 ruling by South Korea’s supreme court proclaiming fixed bonuses should be considered as part of a worker’s base wage. If successful, GM Korea’s workers would see an increase in overtime and severance pay among other statutory benefits, all adjusted accordingly in proportion to base pay.

Meanwhile, the subsidiary’s CEO, Sergio Rocha, warned that if a strike were to occur, the action would threaten both production and job security, and urged his employees to step away from the abyss before all is lost.

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  • CJinSD CJinSD on Jul 10, 2014

    Isn't this exactly what GM wants them to do? China is their future and propping up western imbeciles is their present, which doesn't leave much love for Korea.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jul 10, 2014

    I'm not sure GM wants to abandon all the tooling and production capacity at once. A major portion of GM Asian sales are from Korea, and that can't be replaced overnight from China.

  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Jul 10, 2014

    I know there was a TTAC poster who lives (lived) in Korea... for him/her, the following question: Are the other Korean auto manufacturers as prone to strikes as the GM plants are? I haven't heard anything. Or are Hyundai/Kia doing something different, labor relations-wise, that prevents such strikes?

    • Pch101 Pch101 on Jul 11, 2014

      Korean auto workers make the UAW look like pussycats. They threaten strikes in most years, violent confrontations aren't unusual, and the pay increases are significant. I believe that it was this realization, combined with the possibility of war with North Korea, which inspired Dan Akerson to start shifting resources toward Opel and away from Korea. It's a matter of time when Korean assembly costs rival those of the west, and there's always the risk that a nutjob government in Pyongyang will eventually rain on the parade.

  • Jkk6 Jkk6 on Jul 11, 2014

    I don't know how some companies would be "prone" to strike, but say for example a Kit Kat bar, or Snickers you used to eat aside that peanut butter and jealy sandwich on a lunch break from 12-13 hours of back breaking labor jumped from 5 cents to 15 cents in a period of 5years(96-2001) then jumped another 400 percent(01-05) to 50 cents. Now that candy bar costs a dollar. This is a mere inevitbale tactical negotiations for them to survive. But I do think factories in China it's more of a trend, since that candy bar still costs 5 cents.