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Technology workers at GM vote on strike today

Apr 23,2019
Workers at GM Korea’s new research and development company are voting whether to strike over efforts to adjust their conditions of employment.

Nearly 2,100 employees at GM Technical Center Korea are holding a vote today to prevent GM Korea from presenting the new terms, GM Korea’s labor union said in a newsletter Friday.

GM Technical Center Korea is a company spun off from GM Korea in January. The standalone R&D center leads global engineering for two vehicle programs allocated to GM Korea’s manufacturing operations - a subcompact sport utility vehicle and a cross utility vehicle.

“Gaining a majority in the vote will make a huge hit against the company’s move to downgrade its agreement with the workers and help us reduce the duration of negotiations,” the newsletter said.

“We urge our union members to vote yes with their anger.”

The technical center plans to adopt performance-based pay and stricter disciplinary measures, which will make layoffs easier. It has also requested workers to submit plans in advance to participate in any labor actions.

Workers at the spun-off company are strongly opposed to the measures. They are demanding the same collective bargaining agreements GM Korea workers have with management.

The research center’s management and GM Korea’s union held nine rounds of negotiations through last week to narrow the gap over the proposals, but they failed to reach an agreement. The technical center does not have its own union.

The GM Korea union asked the National Labor Relations Commission to help break the deadlock, but the commission said last week that it will not intervene as there was a “big difference” between the two sides.

It is expected that the workers will stage a strike if the negotiations continue without visible progress, the labor union said in a statement.

“The Monday vote is strictly limited to what goes on at GM Technical Center Korea; it has nothing to do with GM Korea as a whole,” a GM Korea spokesperson said Monday. “If the vote passes and the technical center’s workers go on strike, this will not affect production at GM Korea plants.”

The voting results will be available this afternoon.


BY KO JUN-TAE [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]