The news that General Motors will close its underutilized Gunsan plant in South Korea has sent shockwaves through the city, and the local union has already begun drawing up plans for protests, which could include a strike.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that workers called the move a “death sentence” after locals proclaimed they’d done their best to keep the Gunsan plant afloat. Park Chung-hi, chairwoman of the Gunsan city council, said locals have loyally purchased GM vehicles in an effort to support the plant. She added one in five Gunsan residents relies on the automaker’s operations.
GM initiated a redundancy program for all of its 16,000 workers in South Korea following the closure announcement. The automaker is offering workers three times their annual base salary, money for college tuition and more than $9,000 toward a new car as part of the package.
Workers, bluntly, aren’t having it. Plans for protests are in the works, and a strike may be looming. Workers may also execute a sit-in protest at the GM Korea headquarters, according to the union. GM said it would hold discussions with the union in an effort to reach an understanding.
The automaker has battled high wages and low productivity in South Korea for years, but the union sees things differently and blames the company for reducing output at factories.
And locals are worried about the economy following the plant’s closure this May. In the city of 270,000 residents, many foresee other businesses closing up shop following the plant’s departure.