GM's South Korean Workers Preparing to Strike

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
gms south korean workers preparing to strike

While Hyundai seems to have miraculously dodged labor strikes in South Korea this year, General Motors does not appear to possess the same good fortune. However, it would be difficult to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Lady Luck.

GM’s been considering pulling out of the region over financial reasons for quite some time. In 2018, the automaker shuttered one of its four South Korean facilities — citing rising labor costs as the primary culprit. It’s also been losing money in the region for years. Hoping the company could be swayed from abandoning Korea like it did with Europe, the government floated General Motors 850 billion won ($712.85 million) in industrial aid.

The arrangement was supposed to help keep GM Korea humming for another decade, and the company soon announced tentative plans to invest in new models for the remaining three plants. The deal hinged on Seoul’s willingness to provide financial aid to the Korean unit and a willingness from union groups to accept cost cuts.

Now, union officials are becoming concerned over GM’s presumed unwillingness to provide a clear plan for the Bupyeong Complex after 2022. The factory is currently responsible for manufacturing numerous vehicles (mostly Chevrolet) and their powertrains. Assembly of the Chevrolet Trax will be moved to another nearby facility later this year, leaving a gap in Bupyeong the Korean union fears may be the start of something much worse.

Strikes are scheduled to take place Monday through Wednesday in response to stalled wage talks and concern of another plant shutdown. This would be the first full-scale walkout since GM bought local factories from Daewoo in 2002. The union recently rejected GM’s proposal for a base wage freeze and no bonuses for the second year in a row. Last year, the prospect of no bonuses inspired workers to storm executive offices just to trash them.

“What crazy person will stage a full strike for three days under this economic situation? We are going on a strike because we are desperate,” one GM Korea union leadership official explained to Reuters. “We are fine with no wages, but we want to hear GM’s vision about the Korean unit.”

The automaker’s current plan is to break even in Korea this year — something it said would require union cooperation to pull off. “It is unfortunate that the union decided to go on strike,” GM Korea said in a statement. “The company has been delivering on commitments and we ask the union to do the same for the future of GMK.”

[Image: GM Korea]

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 07, 2019

    GM will try to sell Daewoo if labor problems persist but if they cannot find any buyers they might just shut it down and shift production to China or Vietnam.

    • Steve203 Steve203 on Sep 08, 2019

      >>... they might just shut it down and shift production to China or Vietnam.

  • Akear Akear on Sep 07, 2019

    Barra is the a master at creating global chaos.

  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.