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[EDITORIALS]Daewoo Union Courting Disaster

May 16,2001
Conflict between the two factions of the union members at Daewoo Motor Company over the proposed sale of the bankrupt company to General Motors Corp has intensified. Although the former union leaders said they are for selling the company to GM, the current union leaders affirmed their stand against a GM take-over Wednesday. They announced that the union is seeking an international alliance with GM's labor union and that the Daewoo union will send its members to GM headquarters to block the sale.

The current union leaders' actions are definitely misguided and they should stop seeking an international alliance and sending union members to GM headquarters immediately. Now is the time to initiate a movement urging the sale of the company to GM. Daewoo Motor has reached the most critical point in its 20-year history. Before the end of June, the company should set the course of its future: It should choose either the sale to GM or its independent survival. This is not the time for the labor union to block the sale of the company because the future of Korea's automotive industry and that of Daewoo Motor depend heavily on making the right decision. Recent moves by unionists are nothing more than self-inflicted wounds.

Daewoo Motor's office in the United States has asked the union not to send demonstrators to GM's headquarters in Detroit because the image of Daewoo Motor and exports to a major market will be seriously damaged, erecting obstacles to any chances of recovery. The union should stop protests, and cooperate with management to make better products and boost sales. GM will pay a higher price and guarantee employment only after Daewoo Motor shows a profit and the possibility of survival. Only then, would the government and creditors see an opportunity of the company's independent survival, assuming the plan to sell the firm to GM fails. The union should remember that under the current circumstances, no one will ever want to buy or support a company that has more than 13 trillion won ($9.9 billion) of debts on top of liabilities that are 13 trillion won larger than assets.




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