South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke out for the first time on General Motors’ decision to shutter its Gunsan assembly plant in the southwest part of the country and called for government support to assist affected workers.
According to a Reuters report published on Monday, the South Korean president asked his administration to look “aggressively” into support for Gunsan. One option may be declaring the city an “employment crisis area,” and government aid could come to laid-off workers.
GM’s move to shut the factory down comes as a blow to President Moon’s pledge to boost job creation in Asia’s fourth-largest economy. The Gunsan plant employs 2,000 workers; GM Korea employs 16,000 workers altogether. The automaker also launched a voluntary redundancy program for all workers.
The Gunsan plant has been operating at 20 percent capacity in recent years and has built the Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Orlando. Workers at the plant called the shutdown a “death sentence” and vowed protests and potentially a strike.