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Hyundai union warns of job losses similar to GM

Ha Bu-young, the head of Hyundai Motor Co.'s workers' union in South Korea, said he fears an imminent crisis similar to U.S. car maker General Motors Co.'s local operations, warning that the advent of electric cars could "destroy jobs," Reuters reported March 26.

GM's workers in South Korea were recently reported to have accepted a proposed wage freeze and removal of bonuses if the company cancels the planned closure of its Gunsan facility. This came after GM was reported to be axing 30% of its workforce as part of a restructuring plan.

The 50,000-member union is worried that electric cars could hurt traditional auto jobs as they don't require engines and transmissions, Reuters added.

In January, Hyundai was reported to have earmarked about 23 trillion South Korean won over the next five years for projects including electric cars and artificial intelligence.

Meanwhile, the union reportedly will, for the first time, seek a 7.4% wage hike for temporary workers and a 5.3% increase for regular workers this year.

Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. recorded a slump in sales in China following diplomatic tensions between Seoul and Beijing in 2017, according to the report.

As of March 26, US$1 was equivalent to 1,078.46 South Korean won.