SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) -- GM Korea Co., the South Korean unit of US automaker General Motors Co., said Friday that it is accepting voluntary retirement applications as a means to better manage its human resources in the face of changing market conditions.
The carmaker, the third largest in South Korea, said it will accept applications until Feb. 28 from mainly the non-manufacturing sector, although managerial-level employees at assembly lines can apply as well.
The move was expected, since the company’s president already announced late last year that it will accept a limited number of people leaving the company in the first quarter.
Such measures reflect the stiff competition in the global car market and the decision by GM headquarters to pull out its Chevrolet brands from Europe in the face of sluggish sales. The withdrawal from Europe has alarmed the Korean unit as it makes most of the Chevrolet cars sold in Europe there.
The company said benefits for early retirees will differ depending on how long they have served the company, although all will be granted a 10 million won (US$9,300) voucher that can be used to buy a Chevrolet brand car within a year, and tuition coverage for children for up to two years.
“Those who joined the company in or before 1989 will get three years’ pay, while those that were hired from 1990 through 1998 will get 2.5 years worth of pay if they opt to leave,” an insider said.
He said that people who joined after 1999 will get two years’ extra pay while people hired after 2011 will not be eligible for early retirement.
“Resignations will likely be processed before the end of March, although this will vary depending on conditions at specific posts,” the source said.
The company has accepted voluntary retirement applications twice in 2012.
It stressed that there are no plans to artificially let go of workers and that all voluntary retirement programs are focused on office workers, and not those involved in the actual production of cars. The company said that managerial workers at assembly lines are technically classified as white-collar employees.