|▲ Unionized workers of an Autoliv plant in Wonju, Gangwon Province vote for an industrial action in protest of the downsizing plan of the company on September 13. (provided by the Autoliv Korea Labor Union)|
Autoliv, one of world's largest automotive safety suppliers headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden is reported to plan to reduce the production workers down to the 1/4 level from the current level of the total employees by 2022 in a plant in Wonju, Gangwon Province, 110 km eastward from Seoul, citing the failure of new product orders.
The Autoliv Wonju Plant currently produces airbags and seatbelts, but workers are concerned about the company's strategy that the production of airbags which is higher in profitability will be shifted to another plant in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province where the main office of Autoliv Korea is located, leaving the production of less profitable seatbelts behind at the plant in Wonju which would result in a deficit operation.
As all production workers in the Wonju plant are unionized, workers are raising suspicions that the downsizing would intend to undermine the labor union and expand the outsourcing of the production inside the plant. The labor union is preparing a struggle targeting the Autoliv Head Office in Sweden to demand the measures for the employment stability, after having recently adopted a resolution for an industrial action through the ballot.
The labor union held an industrial action ballot on September 13 where 181 out of 196 union members took part in voting, among them 170 union members(94%) supported for the industrial action. A union official said that "As the company explained the downsizing of the Wonju plant is the policy decision of the Autoliv Head Office, we are fully committed to our struggle against the Headquarters in Sweden for the security of employment."
According to the Federation of Korean Metalworkers Trade Unions(FKMTU) on September 19, Autoliv Korea has recently announced the downsizing plan of its Wonju plant which produces automotive airbags and seatbelts, citing the failure of new product orders. The Autoliv Korea Labor Union said that "When Autoliv Korea failed to secure new product orders around the end of August this year, the management gave notice to the labor union that it will lay off 167 of 196 production workers in the Wonju plant by 2022." The labor union reacted strongly against the company's move as a restructuring plan that will transform the Wonju plant into an in-house outsourcing company to Autoliv Korea.
reported by Lee Eun-young
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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