Unionized General Motors Korea workers have organized yet another strike in their efforts to secure increased wages and bonuses, with a walkout to be held from Monday through Wednesday next week.
Whereas the union had previously scheduled tapered walkouts where employees would alternate strike shifts so the work post was never fully abandoned, this will be a full walkout. This would be the first full walkout since GM started officially producing products there in 2002, when it purchased a number of old Daewoo factories.
GM Korea employees previously sought a 5.6 percent wage hike, performance-based bonuses worth two and a half months of wages and a cash bonus worth $5,400 USD. GM Korea shot down that proposal, though, and sought a base wage freeze with no bonuses. GM is looking to break even in the country this year after the Korean government helped bailout the bankrupt company in 2018, injecting nearly 850 million yuan into the company – equivalent to $712.85 million USD.
Poor economic forecasts in Korea make it poor time for a worker’s strike, but a union representative told Reuters they are “desperate.”
“What crazy person will stage a full strike for three days under this economic situation?” the representative asked.
“We are fine with no wages, but we want to hear GM’s vision about the Korean unit,” they added.
GM Korea CEO Kaher Kazem previously called for unity within GM Korea cautioning against a strike amid the poor economic situation in the country, and a cloudy automotive industry outlook globally, in order to ensure the long-term health of the company.
“Executive and staff members’ participation and support are indispensable for our financial goals and the promise-keeping process,” Kahem said. “All of us should make more efforts for the same goal until achievements are realized.”
GM Korea currently builds the Buick Encore and Chevrolet Traxfor local consumption and for export to the United States. It was also recently allocated the Buick Encore GX and Chevrolet TrailBlazer compact crossovers.