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Daewoo Motor union stalls reorganization

Posted November. 20, 2000 13:26,   


"Nearly half of workers carry their resignation in their pocket, but we don't know why the trade union is insisting on not submitting a written consent."

Daewoo Motor went bankrupt a week ago, and the operation of the Pupyong plant has been suspended. Right now, the assembly lines at the Pupyong plant have stopped entirely. Instead, members of the trade union are busy. The agony of the union has deepened, as the silence of the plant continues.

As a field supervisor put it, many Daewoo Motor workers are ready to leave the company. By Nov. 18, a total of 250 employees, including 150 plant workers, quit the company. Under the current circumstances, it seems that there is no excuse or material gain for not consenting to the restructuring plan.

"I have received a lot of e-mails from company employees," Choi Jong-Hak, Daewoo Motor spokesman, said. "Nearly 80 percent are sent by those who are encouraging the showdown, while the remainder are by those who ask why not submit the consent?"

Kim Il-Sup, head of the trade union, said: "Employees do not know in detail what the union is doing and if the union has made a proper choice. So there are different views about it. In particular, they pointed out that the Kunsan and Changwon plants have been running with two shifts daily even after the workout. And they protested why they have to suffer because of the union."

However, the real agony of the union is that it cannot agree with the request for laying off of union members. The current union consists of leaders who were chosen through their protest against overseas sale of assembly plants. For this reason, their approach to the issues is quite limited. It is because they see that their consent to the restructuring would pave the way for General Motors to take over Daewoo Motor without much difficulty.

What is more, it calls for laying off 6,500 workers, which is much greater than the original plan of firing 3,500 workers. So the union is suspicious of the fact if the management will shut down the Pupyong plant.

Nevertheless, the longer they protest against the company's demand to consent to the restructuring plan, the greater is the risk of closing nearly all plants, including the Kunsan plant, with serial bankruptcy of subcontractors. It is likely that most subcontractors will face a critical situation with financial trouble.

Particularly, Korea Delphi, which constitutes about 20 percent of all parts and components supplied to Daewoo, is likely to fail to pay 32 billion won of promissory notes that mature Nov. 25. And it would hit hard smaller subcontractors. In this connection, Daewoo creditors are expected to hold a meeting early this week to discuss the question.

Both the company and creditors are asking for consent of the union to the restructuring plan and are not actively trying to persuade the union. For this reason, they receive criticism that they are showing a lukewarm attitude to the incident.

It seems as if the new cars such as T-200 and J-200, subsequent models of Lanos and Nubira that are parked in the yard of the Pupyong plant, awaiting shipment, are staging a demonstration.

Ha Im-Sook artemes@donga.com