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Labor and Management of GM Korea at Loggerheads over Integration of Logistics Centers
Union Vote on Wage Agreement Slated for March 30-31
Labor and Management of GM Korea at Loggerheads over Integration of Logistics Centers
  • By Michael Herh
  • March 30, 2020, 11:12
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A placard is hung to show GM Korea unionists’ opposition to the integration of logistics centers at the GM Korea Service Center in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province.

The labor and management of GM Korea has recently wrapped up the wage negotiations for 2019, clearing a big hurdle in building cooperative relations. Although a union vote on the provisional wage agreement still remains, the deal is regarded as exception as it includes a wage freeze. However, the two sides are sharply divided over the consolidation of logistics and parts centers.

Labor union members will vote on the provisional agreement on March 30 and 31. The provisional agreement consists of a vehicle incentive program, the freeze of wages and the non-payment of performance wages. The two sides resumed wage negotiations early this month, which were suspended in October 2019 due to the election of labor union leaders. They reached a conclusion after five rounds of negotiations. It took nine months to wrap up the wage negotiations.

The new leadership of the labor union which was inaugurated in 2019 was initially classified as a radical one, but now it is called close to a practical one when its recent actions are considered. At the beginning of this year, even though wage negotiations were not concludeded, labor union head Kim and GM Korea CEO Kaher Kazem joined hands at an event for the launch of the new model Trailblazer. "We will resume factory operations and obtain job security and resume operations while cooperating with the management when necessary in the future," Kim said at the time

The labor and management of GM Korea have to start wage negotiations for 2020 although the two sides wrap up wage negotiations for 2019 this year.

Initially, in 2019, the integration of the Changwon Logistics and the Jeju Parts Center into the Sejong Logistics Center was discussed as a major factor in wage negotiations for 2019. This is because the union regarded the integration of the logistics centers pursued by the management as a de facto restructuring. However, "In the case of the integration of the logistics centers, we have decided to continue discussing with the management separately from 2019 wage negotiations," a labor union official said. "GM Korea integrated the Incheon, Changwon and Sejong Logistic Centers into the Changwon and Sejong Logistic Centers. So there will be no further integration.”

Another big factor is the recent spread of the novel corona virus. At present, GM Korea’s Bupyeong Plant is focusing on producing the Trailblazer. This is in contrast to the fact that overseas plants of GM have been shut down. It is fortunate for the labor union of GM Korea which returned from the edge of a cliff as the automaker started to produce new cars after receiving 810 billion won in financial support from the Korean government.