GM's 15,000 unionised workers in South Korea
plan to cast ballots on Tuesday and Wednesday on whether to
stage a strike for a fourth consecutive year, signaling a
resurgence of summer labour unrest in the country's auto
"We have seen such (strike) decisions boomerang on us. If a loss
in production is incurred again this year due to strikes, the
result could be much worse than we can imagine," GM Korea CEO
Sergio Rocha said in the email, which was dated Monday.
The U.S. automaker said in December that it would stop selling
its Chevrolet-branded cars in Europe by the end of 2015, a move
that hit output at its South Korean unit, which produces most of
the Chevy cars sold in Europe.
That decision helped send GM Korea's exports slumping by a
quarter in the first half of this year from a year earlier.
"It may lead to an additional reduction in production volume,
which is closely related to our job security. We need to stop
this vicious cycle before it is too late," Rocha said.
GM Korea and its labour union started annul wage talks in April,
but they have been locking horns over wage increases and future
"GM Korea is at a critical juncture...While there are a number
of issues that have weakened our competitiveness such as soaring
costs, and labor conflicts, losses as the result of strike
actions during previous negotiations represent one of the
biggest," Rocha said.
A GM Korea spokesman declined to comment on the email, while a
union spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Automakers in South Korea are often subject to labour strikes
during annual wage talks, although they usually recoup most lost
production by working longer hours once talks are settled.
Workers at Renault SA's <RENA.PA> South Korean unit last week
voted in favour of a strike, although talks continue, while
ongoing wage talks at Hyundai Motors <005380.KS> are expected to
drag on into next month.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Matt Driskill)
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