GM CEO Dan Akerson said that the automaker will not pull out of South Korea, but it will soon discuss labor woes with South Korean’s President Park Geun-hye.
Last month Akerson said that he might consider transferring production from South Korea if tensions between South and North Korea will increase. This decision angered the union, therefore the annual wage talks are not expected to be easy when they will start by the end of this month. As South Korean’s President Park Geun-hye will come to the US this week, Akerson plans to open a discussion related to his concerns about labor.
“We are upset by his remarks. We did not go all the way to the U.S. to hear that,” said union spokesman Choi Jong-hak.
South Korea is one of GM’s largest overseas production bases, where more than 4 out of 10 Chevrolet vehicles are manufactured. Although GM said in February it plans to invest $7.3 billion in its South Korea in the following 5 years, this has not stopped speculation about a possible production transfer to Europe.
“GM cannot withdraw from South Korea. We have technology to make good cars and our wages are only about one third of those in the United States and Europe,” said Choi Jong-hak.