Workers at GM Korea to strike for six hours on July 4

Article by Anita Panait, on June 28, 2013

General Motors' workers at its South Korea sites are planning to stage a partial walkout on July 4, 2013, due to continued disputes over wages and production plans, according to a union spokesman. GM has said it plans to shift output of the next Chevrolet Cruze compact out of South Korea. Reports have suggested that production of the Cruze would be shifted to Opel's Gliwice site in Poland to help offset losses at GM's European unit.

The decision has prompted unions to fear that GM will restructure its South Korean unit. The partial walkout comes during annual wage talks that commenced in April 2013. GM chief executive Dan Akerson and other executives have raised concerns on additional costs related to labor partly due to ongoing wage lawsuits filed by the carmaker's workers in South Korea.

GM's South Korean union remarked that "cost per vehicle" in the country is half of that in Australia and is practically lesser than other countries like Russia. Seventy-nine percent of union members at GM Korea voted last week for launching of a strike action.

Choi Jong-hak, a union spokesman, remarked that the workers will stop working for six hours on July 4, and will refuse overtime and weekend work, for now. He said that union leadership would decide whether the strike would continue, depending on the progress of the wage discussions. Workers at GM Korea launched a strike action in July to September 2012, resulting to 40,000 vehicles in lost production. [source: FinancialTimes]

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