General Motors assembly plant workers in South Korea are planning to strike over stalled wage negotiations. The strike is scheduled to start Monday and last through Wednesday of next week, marking the first full strike the company’s workers have authorized since GM acquired its Korean assets in 2002.
The strike authorization comes after the union refused to accept GM’s latest proposal, which called for freezing wages and no bonuses, Reuters reports.
Last year the South Korean government injected $712 million into GM Korea after the automaker threatened to pull out of the country entirely. At the time GM said the capital injection would be enough to keep the company in the country for another 10 years. Despite the injection, GM Korea still closed one of its four assembly plants in the country after pulling out of the European market.
Union officials are still concerned about further plant closures. GM has not disclosed a production plan for its Bupyeong assembly plant beyond 2022. The plant currently builds the Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax, which are slated to move to another Korean plant in 2022.
GM’s goal is to break even in Korea this year, a target it says it needs the union’s cooperation in order to achieve.
The union says they can accept the wage freeze, but are demanding GM disclose its future plans for the country. Thus far GM seems unwilling to discuss future plans, if any, for its Korean assembly plants. The ambiguity may somewhat stem from the impending trade war the U.S. is instigating with various countries, namely China.
GM has operated in South Korea since 2002 when it acquired failed Daewoo Motor’s assets. Since then the company has never had a full strike due to labor dispute.