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GM’s Rocha seeks halt to strikes

GM Korea’s chief executive Sergio Rocha recently asked employees to refrain from further labor activity for the sake of productivity and the company’s future.

“Further labor conflict and productivity loss would have an irreversible effect on our future,” Rocha said in an email addressed to all 17,000 GM workers on July 3.

He also said the automaker understood their frustration, as the reality that GM faces was a cause for concern. 
Chief executive Sergio Rocha
Chief executive Sergio Rocha

“I realize that sharing my knowledge of our company’s reality is one of my responsibilities as chief executive,” Rocha said.

Hit by sluggish sales and weak market conditions, GM Korea was forced to carry out two early retirement programs last year. It has also decided to halt the production of a follow-up model for the Cruze, GM’s next-generation compact.

GM’s labor union, after carrying out partial strikes last week, is set to once again stage a partial strike starting today.

The main bone of contention was a salary increase, along with demands from the union to include bonuses in their regular wages. The union is also asking GM Korea to directly manufacture engine transmissions, and invest more in R&D and other forward-looking operations.

GM Korea, on the other hand, expressed its concern that the demands are too high considering the dormant business conditions.

“We incurred losses worth up to 48,000 units last year. This led to the extremely negative result of Korea losing credibility in the eyes of our major shareholders,” Rocha said.

GM Korea said the CEO sent out such memos to the staff about once every two months, or when the need arose.

By Kim Ji-hyun  (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)
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