GM union crit­i­cized for wag­ing boy­cott cam­paign

The Korea Times - - BUSINESS - By Nam Hyun-woo [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

The union at GM Korea is fac­ing grow­ing crit­i­cism for wag­ing a sales boy­cott against ve­hi­cles brought into the coun­try from the firm’s U.S. head­quar­ters, to pres­sure man­age­ment to ac­cept its de­mands, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try of­fi­cials Sun­day.

They said union work­ers have “crossed the line” even though the con­tro­ver­sial move is de­signed to de­rail GM Korea’s plan to im­port more cars from its head­quar­ters and urge the com­pany to main­tain do­mes­tic out­put.

Ac­cord­ing to the GM Korea union, it will hold a press con­fer­ence Tues­day on its boy­cott of Chevro­let cars the com­pany im­ports from out­side of Korea. Though the union did not re­veal de­tails on how it will stage the boy­cott cam­paign, the Tra­verse full­size SUV and the Colorado pickup truck are ex­pected to be the main tar­gets.

The two ve­hi­cles are im­port mod­els which GM Korea launched in the do­mes­tic mar­ket this sum­mer.

The an­nounce­ment came amid the dis­pute be­tween GM Korea la­bor and man­age­ment over this year’s salary and col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment. The union is de­mand­ing a 5.65 per­cent hike in mem­bers’ base pay and a 16.7 mil­lion won ($14,000) in­cen­tive, while the com­pany is re­fus­ing to agree.

As the ne­go­ti­a­tions have not been pro­gress­ing, the union ap­pears to have made a bold move in re­sponse, ac­cord­ing to an in­dus­try source.

The union claims the two ve­hi­cles and other im­port mod­els that GM Korea re­tails in Korea are “do­ing no good” for the com­pany, be­cause an ex­pan­sion of im­ported mod­els in the com­pany’s lineup will cut the Gen­eral Mo­tors unit’s do­mes­tic out­put, which will even­tu­ally slash jobs.

Of the 11 ve­hi­cles GM Korea is sell­ing, six are im­port mod­els — the Im­pala, the Bolt EV, the Ca­maro, the Equinox, the Colorado and the Tra­verse — out­num­ber­ing five that are man­u­fac­tured in Korea — the Spark, the Mal­ibu, the Trax, the Damas and the Labo. The Damas and the Labo are com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles and not branded as Chevro­let ve­hi­cles.

GM Korea in Au­gust joined the Korea Au­to­mo­bile Im­porters & Dis­trib­u­tors As­so­ci­a­tion (KAIDA), which is a group of im­port brands in Korea, say­ing it is a bid to pro­vide more op­tions for do­mes­tic cus­tomers.

A GM Korea of­fi­cial said the com­pany has “no com­ment” on the union’s move, but it “will con­tinue ne­go­ti­at­ing with the union, as much as the com­pany can,” adding it be­lieves a re­cov­ery in sales is the pre­con­di­tion for a wage hike and the sales of im­port ve­hi­cles can help that.

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