GM Korea Dropping Bankruptcy Vote Plan, Saved By Last-minute Wage Deal

GM Korean union reach tentative agreement on wages workers

In a 12-hour negotiating session, GM Korea and its labor union today reached a tentative agreement that freezes hourly workers' wages and bonuses and reduces fringe-benefit liabilities for the current year.

Korea Development Bank is GM Korea's second-largest shareholder with a 17 percent stake.

Korea made a decision to accept voluntary resignations from workers and then relocate any Gunsan employees who decide to remain with the company, replacing its initial proposal that would have forced some workers to take extensive unpaid leave.

The company had originally set the deadline for an agreement from the union at midnight Friday, but it was delayed to 5 p.m. Monday after Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon urged the two sides to find common ground through "swift but honest dialogue" and to avoid jeopardizing 150,000 local jobs at the carmaker and its subcontractors.

"Ratification of the tentative agreement is critical to our viability plan and securing support of the Korean government and our shareholders, KDB and GM", GM Korea CEO Kaher Kazem said in a statement.

Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon returned to Korea on April 23 afternoon, and one of his first schedules was to head to the government complex in Seoul to discuss recovery efforts for GM Korea with vice-ministers.

However, AP reports that the union still needs to vote on the measures later this week.

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General Motors has announced it will give negotiators until Monday to arrive at a financial solution for its ailing GM Korea division. Since GM's acquisition of Daewoo Motor Co.in 2002, South Korea has served as an Asian manufacturing hub for GM, mainly producing small and compact cars.

The government said Monday that it respects the agreement between GM and the union.

His view was echoed by Suh Sung-moon, who analyzed the auto sector for almost two decades at Korea Investment & Securities Co. Gm has got a huge relaxation on the liquidity due to the funding to pay the employees and its suppliers.

GM restructured its Thai operations, and ceased production in Indonesia and Australia. The union accepted management's earlier promise that it would disperse the workers through a combination of early optional retirement packages and job transfers to other plants.

Thereafter, it proposed converting $2.7 billion debt owed to it by GM Korea into equity and offered to share an investment of $2.8 billion between GM Korea and the KDB.

Hyundai Research Institute forecast that the closure of GM Korea would lead to W30.9 trillion in losses to the nation's automotive industry (US$1=W1,070). During part of the negotiations GM banned executives from traveling to GM Korea properties because of concerns about possible union volatility.

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