Average South Koreans aren’t feeling too sorry for the nation’s auto union amid GM Korea restructuring. It shows how much has changed since the last major auto union crisis following Daewoo’s bankruptcy.
Reuters reported on Sunday just how much has changed since 2001. A 51-year-old union worker recalled incredible sympathy as he and 2,000 other workers lost their jobs in the Daewoo bankruptcy. Today, as General Motors prepares to shut down the Gunsan plant and leave 2,600 workers without a job, the public hasn’t sided with the union.
South Korea’s auto union earned a reputation for its militant practices that hasn’t played well with average South Koreans. It’s also led to high labor costs in the country, one of many factors that have contributed to GM Korea’s downward spiral. According to the report, many locals view the union as an “interest group” only concerned with protecting themselves at all costs.
The union has already agreed to no pay raises for 2018, but GM Korea and the union haven’t reached further concessions needed to avoid bankruptcy on April 20. GM is still reviewing the fate of its other three factories in the country as well. In total, GM Korea employs 16,000 workers.