By on April 6, 2018

General Motors workers in South Korea forced their way into company executive offices on Thursday, destroying furniture in response to news that the automaker’s local unit told employees there will be no bonuses due its ongoing cash crisis.

Based on video evidence, the incident itself was weirdly organized, with just a hint of underlying fury. As tables were carefully moved out of the office, perhaps to be destroyed elsewhere, union members tossed chairs, glasses, and the CEO’s various knickknack to the ground. There was also some light smashing of a cabinet and the trampling of a blazer, which was later carefully dusted off and removed from the room by an employee. The whole affair was closer to the hiring of a budget moving crew than a full-blown riot. 


However, the singular security video only showed what happened in the office belonging to chief executive Kaher Kazem. Other rooms may have gotten a different treatment. According to Bloomberg, GM Korea described the event as a “violent incident” that “resulted in significant damage to company property.” The incident was reported to the police and the company has stated it will take legal action against the workers involved.

In February, General Motors announced it would shut one of its South Korean factories, saying it would file for bankruptcy should the union refuse to make concessions by April 20th (a traditionally ominous date that is also Hitler’s birthday — as well as “weed day”). GM has also requested the Korean government offer financial support so it can continue operating within the country.

Paik Un-gyu, Korea’s minister of trade, industry and energy, has spoken with both the union and GM Korea and said the attack on office furniture was a misstep. “Should the industrial conflict seen yesterday and today happen again, it will be difficult for [GM Korea] to gain public support and government support,” he said in a statement.

Even in an ideal scenario, GM’s Korean sales will need to see a turnaround if the company is to continue operating there. March sales were down 58 percent this year. Meanwhile, the automaker has asked employees to resign voluntarily as it closes its Gunsan plant — something thousands have agreed to. But even with the union playing nice and the government offering aid, there is no assurance that GM won’t still pull out of the region. The company could simply be buying time as it decides how to best orchestrate its retreat from Korea. Although, it has proposed a $2.8 billion (USD) investment plan and a $2.7 billion debt-for-equity swap as a way to turn the tide.

Despite the incident in the executives offices, the union has officially said it is willing to accept the company’s demand for a wage freeze and no bonuses for 2018. But it will continue opposing any proposal that cuts worker benefits and has been vehemently against closing the Gunsan facility.

[Image: via Youtube]

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28 Comments on “Angry South Korean GM Workers Trash Executive Offices Over Missing Bonuses [Video]...”

  • avatar

    Groundskeeper Willie: “Ach… you call this a soccer riot? Come on boys, let’s take ’em to school! Oy! Oy! Oy!”

    They probably felt guilty and later paid to have that jacket dry cleaned.

  • avatar

    Well, that pretty much puts the kibosh on bonuses for the next quarter, going to need the money to pay for an unscheduled office remodeling…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I prefer the approach taken by French workers. They stage a sit-down strike and take some executives hostage.

  • avatar

    So do these clowns get punished? Or is it like the last decade in this country where rioters are presented as hero’s?

    • 0 avatar

      Hey, everybody! I found THAT GUY.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      kcflyer, when GM needs to decide which factory to close and which factory to expand, workers trashing the executive offices tends to put that factory on the list of ones to be closed. Even within the same company with workers represented by the same union, workers at some locations are willing to change work rules, etc. and other workers are are less willing to make changes to keep the lights on.

  • avatar

    I tried flipping my desk over and trashing my office and still no bonus for me neither! Guess that strategy doesn’t work for self-employed folks as well.

  • avatar

    I dig the headbands.

  • avatar

    wasn’t one of these guys wearing a “come at me bro” shirt in a recent GEICO ad?

  • avatar

    I was hoping after they’d cleared out the office they would bring a VW Beetle in piece by piece and rebuild it inside.

  • avatar

    If they half-a$$ it on the job like they half-a$$ed trashing the boss’s office, it’s no wonder their division is in trouble.

  • avatar

    If only American workers had as much guts. We get jobs outsourced left and right, just because the freaking CEO has to make the quarterly statement look good and show short term profits. Look at GE and Gm and cry.

    we have a president that is trying to fight for us, but idiots don’t realize that CEOs who don’t think about Americans and only about their stock holders are making the country go downhill fast.

    fight the CEOs and the board. They don’t care about employees or the country. Support your president.

    Japan is the country we must emulate. Long live Toyota

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis


      Today 1 former Toyota plant builds Teslas
      Soon every Toyota plant will be building Teslas

      Toyota is your fathers Oldsmobile

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      “we have a president that is trying to fight for us”

      Wow, the problem is he’s not a fighter.

      Maybe these Korean thugs need to learn to collaborate, like your Banana in Chief.

    • 0 avatar

      “Japan is the country we must emulate.”

      These guys are Korean.

      “we have a president that is trying to fight for us”

      Wow. Cambridge Analytica and their analysis is/was bang on!

    • 0 avatar

      Drumpf doesn’t fight for anyone unless it benefits himself.

      Notice how he conveniently left off apparel when it came to placing tariffs on Chinese imports (so people with little taste can continue to purchase Drumpf and Ivanka branded Made-in-China crap).

      Gotta love how people just overlook that that, but Drumpf;s history of stiffing small contractors, importing construction workers from Poland (who were paid low wages and lived in horrible conditions), being a big user of the H2-B temporary worker’s visa, etc.

      And as for Toyota, one of the reasons why they can now produce the Camry cheaper in Japan (aside from the valuation of the Yen compared to the dollar) is that Toyota City is now filled with many low-wage temp workers who do much of the work permanent Toyota employees used to do.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The video reminds me of Laurel and Hardy. GM needs to rid themselves of Daewoo.

  • avatar

    Soon to join the local union – WAW (WE Ain’t Worken) as opposed to the UAW ( U Ain’t Worken) !!!

  • avatar

    The Benny hill song was playing in my head as I watched this.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The Benny Hill song would be perfect for this video.

  • avatar

    How about PSA buying GM facilities in Korea? It will solve the problem.

  • avatar

    Damage was estimated to be in the hundreds.

  • avatar

    Don’t freak with The Wongs.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    That was pretty good entertainment. I’d say they knew they were on video.

    Well, my personal view of GM’s involvement in Sth Korea is directly related to the pending tariffs outcome by Trump & Co, another clown outfit like these Korean union guys.

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