Workers Fight GM’s Decision to Move Cruze Production from Korea image

South Korean labor unions try to convince GM to manufacture its next-generation Chevrolet Cruze in Korea, so that the automaker won’t make job cuts in the country.

GM Korea head Sergio Rocha told labor unions on November 1st, that the new Cruze will be manufactured in Europe and four other markets. This means that GM plans to move production to Europe to boost efficiency in the money-losing market. Rocha also said that GM has not decided yet which factories will manufacture the new Cruze small car.

“Should (GM) not withdraw the decision, it will face enormous resistance (from workers),” union leader Min Ki said in a statement, adding the union would do all it could to block the move.

The Cruze model which is currently manufactured here accounts for 50%-60% from the total of 260,000 cars manufactured by GM’s Korean plant, in the Gunsan city, which employs 3,300 workers. The new Cruze model is expected to enter the market in fall 2014.

“The next-generation Cruze is the lifeline of Gunsan factory. The plant is flooded with anger about GM which is trying to cut its lifeline,” said Min Ki.

Union spokesman, Choi Jong-hak, said that workers seek politicians support and the help of orea Development Bank (KDB), which is GM Korea’s second most important shareholder.