GM factory worker in South Korea found dead, allegedly over plant shutdown

The main gate to GM Korea's Gunsan factory is seen in Gunsan, South Korea on Feb 13, 2018. A factory worker from the firm's ailing unit was found dead in a suspected suicide after filing for a voluntary redundancy programme.
The main gate to GM Korea's Gunsan factory is seen in Gunsan, South Korea on Feb 13, 2018. A factory worker from the firm's ailing unit was found dead in a suspected suicide after filing for a voluntary redundancy programme.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (REUTERS) - A worker at a South Korean plant of General Motors was found dead in a suspected suicide after filing for a voluntary redundancy programme of the US carmaker's ailing unit, union officials and police said on Sunday (March 25).

GM plans to shut down its Gunsan plant by May and almost 2,500 workers, or about 15 per cent of the staff, have applied for the redundancy package offered as part of a restructuring of its operations.

The death of the 47-year-old worker in his home was reported to police around 4.30pm on Saturday, and the suspected suicide is being investigated, a police official said.

If proven, it would be the first suicide reported from the plant ahead of the planned shutdown.

A spokesman for GM Korea said it was also looking into the case.

In March, GM's South Korean union did not demand a pay rise and bonuses for the first time during annual wage talks, but instead asked it to provide a future production plan and job security.

The firm has proposed a base wage freeze and no bonuses this year, besides a suspension of some worker benefits, including school tuition for employees' children.