General Motors’ South Korean division is getting ready to cope with a partial strike organized by the workers, which could fall in line with the traditional labor skirmishes that have become casual in the country.
GM’s disgruntled employees will stop working for two hours on Friday and for another four hours on July 22, while also refusing to work overtime and weekends in the meantime, commented union spokesman Yun Yong-sin for Reuters. The largest US automaker, also the third biggest carmaker in the world, has a major presence in South Korea with the company and the union that represents 13,884 workers in the country engaged in negotiations over salaries and production output. But the discussions turned sour and the union agreed earlier this month to stage a strike. The South Korean auto industry, headed by Hyundai and Kia, taken together the fifth largest automaker in the world, is accustomed to have strikes almost on an annual basis while the companies and unions clash over wages and production volumes.
GM’s South Korea division, which makes up around 20 percent of the automaker’s worldwide production output, narrowly avoided a strike last year for the first time in four years after it managed to reach a deal. The agreement included bonuses and a hike of basic salaries, as well as a retreat on the earlier decision of not manufacturing the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze at its Gunsan factory from 2017.