A source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters that General Motors is seeking to cut shifts by half at one of its South Korean factories as it realigns global manufacturing in a move that could affect about 1,100 jobs.
The automaker said in December that it would stop selling its Chevrolet-branded cars in Europe by the end of 2015, a move that could affect production and jobs at its South Korean unit, which produces most of Chevy cars sold there.
The source said GM Korea proposed to the labor union reducing the current two shifts to one shift at its southwestern plant of Gunsan and expected the change to make half of its 2,200 manufacturing employees redundant.
The source added that GM Korea and its labor union were in talks over the proposal. The firm has not elaborated yet on how it plans to address the redundancy – whether it will carry out a voluntary retirement scheme, put them on leave, or offer to shift them to other factories.
The Gunsan factory, which is one of GM Korea’s four vehicle manufacturing lines, has an annual production capacity of 260,000 vehicles and produces the Chevy Cruze and Orlando. It employs 1,700 full-time production workers and 500 temporary ones.
GM Korea plans to slash its headcount for salaried workers early this year in what would be its fourth round of job cuts since 2009. Also, as a part of its global restructuring, GM announced in December its plan to withdraw Chevy cars in Europe by 2015 and shutter factories in Australia by 2017.