General Motors wants to reduce shifts by half at one of its sites in South Korea as it shifts global production, a person having direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters, adding that the move would affect about 1,100 jobs. GM disclosed in December 2013 that it would stop sales of Chevrolet-branded cars in Europe by the end of 2015.
Such move would affect production and jobs at GM Korea, which builds most of Chevrolet cars sold in the continent. GM Korea has already proposed to the labor union a reduction of the current two shifts to one shift at its Gunsan site. GM Korea expected the move to render half of the site’s 2,200 manufacturing workers redundant, the source said.
According to the source, GM Korea and its labor union were holding discussions over the proposal. GM Korea did not give details on how it would go about the redundancy. A GM Korea spokesman only said that discussions are ongoing about the operation of the Gunsan site. The site is one of GM Korea's four vehicle production lines and could produce up to 260,000 vehicles annually.
It builds the Chevrolet Cruze and Orlando SUVs and has 1,700 full-time production workers and 500 temporary ones. The source remarked that the Chevrolet pullout from Europe would have a direct effect to the Gunsan site, adding that production at the plant is expected to drop 100,000 this year and 120,000 next year. The source added that the union seeks to keep the two shifts, and instead trim the number of cars produced per hour. GM has been gradually reducing its presence in South Korea due to increasing labor costs and militant unionism.