Unions threaten stir against Daewoo selloff plan
SEOUL, South Korea: A militant labour umbrella group threatened to organise
a nation-wide strike next month to protest plans to sell Daewoo Motor Co. to
a foreign buyer.
The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the nation's second-largest
umbrella labour group, which claims a membership of 600,000, said it would
start an indefinite strike on May 31.
Creditors plan to sell ailing Daewoo Motor by June through international
bidding, in which General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. of the United
States are front-runners.
Earlier this month, workers at the nation's four major carmakers - Hyundai,
Daewoo, Kia and Ssangyong - had staged a week-long strike, demanding that
Daewoo be nationalised or acquired by a South Korean company.
They fear that sale of Daewoo to a foreign buyer would mean huge layoffs.
Daewoo Motor produced 758,500 vehicles in 1999 at its 17 facilities at home
and abroad. At the end of June 1999, it had $18.3 billion in assets and dlrs
13.9 billion in debt. Daewoo Motor is a unit of Daewoo Group, which
collapsed under huge debts last year. It began as a joint venture with GM in
GM sold its 50 per cent stake to Daewoo for $70 million in 1992. By taking
over Daewoo, US automakers hope to strengthen their presence in Asia, which
is expected to become the fastest growing auto market in the world. (AP)
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