SEOUL Jan 24 General Motors is seeking
to cut shifts by half at one of its South Korean factories as it
realigns global manufacturing in a move that could affect about
1,100 jobs, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told
Reuters on Friday.
The U.S. automaker said in December that it would stop
selling its Chevrolet-branded cars in Europe by the end of 2015,
a move that could affect production and jobs at its South Korean
unit which produces most of Chevy cars sold there.
GM Korea proposed to the labour union reducing the current
two shifts to one shift at its southwestern plant of Gunsan and
expected the change to make half of its 2,200 manufacturing
employees redundant, the source said.
The source declined to be named because the person is not
authorised to talk to the media.
The source said GM Korea and its labour union were in talks
over the proposal. The firm has not elaborated yet on how it
plans to address the redundancy - whether it will carry out a
voluntary retirement scheme, put them on leave, or offer to
shift them to other factories.
A GM Korea spokesman declined to comment, saying talks are
under way about the operation of the Gunsan factory.
The Gunsan factory, which is one of GM Korea's four vehicle
manufacturing lines, has an annual production capacity of
260,000 vehicles and produces the Chevy Cruze and Orland SUVs.
It employs 1,700 full-time production workers and 500 temporary
"The Chevy pullout would have a direct blow to the Gunsan
factory. GM expects its production in Gunsan to shrink to
100,000 this year and 120,000 next year... The union wants to
maintain two shifts, and instead cut the number of cars produced
per hour," the source said.
GM has begun gradually cutting its presence in South Korea
after mounting labor costs and militant unionism triggered a
rethink of its reliance on the country for a fifth of its global
production, three individuals familiar with GM's thinking told
Reuters in August.
GM Korea plans to slash its headcount for salaried workers
early this year in what would be its fourth round of job cuts
As a part of its global restructuring, GM announced in
December its plan to withdraw Chevy cars in Europe by 2015 and
shutter factories in Australia by 2017.
A top GM executive said last week that GM Korea may ship
more cars to Australia after it announced a plant shutdown
there, but watchers say this would not be enough to offset a
output slump stemming from Chevy's Europe exit.