GM union criticized for waging boycott campaign
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.