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COVID-19 Forces Labor and Management of Renault Samsung, GM Korea to Meet Each Other Halfway
Labor Unions Shift into Compromise Mode
COVID-19 Forces Labor and Management of Renault Samsung, GM Korea to Meet Each Other Halfway
  • By Jung Min-hee
  • March 23, 2020, 10:32
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The labor and management of both Renault Samsung Motors and GM Korea had been at loggerheads during wage negotiations. But the novel coronavirus outbreak has forced them to seek solutions together to overcome the crisis facing the automobile industry.

The labor and management of both Renault Samsung and GM Korea are focusing on wage negotiations for 2019, which they failed to wrap up in 2019, by meeting each other halfway over a basic salary increase and the integration of parts and logistics centers. As demand for automobiles plummets due to the prolongation of the COVID-19 crisis, the labor unions of the two companies decided to change direction and began to seek cooperation with their management.

At Renault Samsung, discussion between the labor and management is in full swing over the introduction of a contribution allowance and the payment of 2 million won in compensation for a salary freeze. The labor union withdrew from its demand for a basic salary increase, which was a hindrance to negotiations, and began reviewing the company's proposal for a contribution allowance. Prior to the negotiations, the leadership of the Renault Samsung labor union maintained a hard-line stance such as sticking to the demand for a basic salary increase and threatening to join the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. Internal criticisms by the delegates and prolongation of the novel coronavirus outbreak compelled the labor union leadership to begin to change its position.

At GM Korea, the labor and management are expediting the negotiation process by deciding to separately review a plan to integrate the Sejong Logistics Centers and Changwon Logistics and Jeju Parts Company which emerged as a bone of contention in the 2019 wage negotiations. A discussion of the plan was stopped in October last year and resumed in March this year. On March 12, “The plan is actually a restructuring action following the closure of the Incheon Logistics Center in 2019,” the GM Korea Labor Union said, delivering an appeal letter containing 11 signatures of the representatives of parts suppliers in Jeju to the management, during a meeting for negotiations