SEOUL, Apr. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — Workers at GM Korea Co.’s R&D firm voted to go on strike against the carmaker’s move to apply unfavorable wages and working conditions for the spin-off entity, GM Korea’s union said Tuesday.
In a vote held Monday and Tuesday, 83 percent of 2,067 employees at the GM Technical Center Korea (GMTCK) agreed on industrial action to prevent the company from applying a “discriminative” collective agreement to them, a spokesman for the union said.
“The union will hold talks with the company (on behalf of GMTCK) to apply the same collective agreement to the R&D workers as the one for assembly line workers at GM Korea. There will be a strike if there is no agreement,” he said.
GMTCK is an R&D company that was spun off from GM Korea and began operations in January. R&D workers have demanded the same collective agreement GM Korea workers reached with management. GM holds a 77 percent stake in GM Korea.
The R&D entity said it plans to adopt performance-based pay and stricter disciplinary actions that can make layoffs easier. The company has, moreover, been requesting that workers submit their plans to participate in any labor action to the company in advance.
The technical center and the union held nine rounds of talks until last week to narrow the gap over the proposals but failed to reach a compromise.
The GM Korea union asked the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) to mediate the impasse, but the organization refused to intervene, citing a “big difference” between the two sides. GMTCK does not have its own union.
Despite the decision of the NLRC, the GMTCK is committed to reaching a fair and reasonable agreement based on mutual respect and understanding, GM Korea said.
GM Korea does not expect that any strike by GMTCK employees will affect production at its plants, as GM Korea workers won’t participate in the strike.