INCHEON, South Korea (AP) _ General Motors Corp.'s South Korean unit said Thursday that it was rehiring all 1,725 assembly line workers laid off in 2001 by the defunct Daewoo Motor Co.
``GM Daewoo's rehiring of its predecessor's laid off employees is unprecedented among domestic corporations and fulfills a commitment given by management,'' GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. said in a press release.
Detroit-based GM created GM Daewoo in 2002 after acquiring a majority stake in Daewoo Motor, which was declared bankrupt in 2000 with billions of dollars in debt after years of reckless expansion on borrowed money.
GM Daewoo said that 1,081 of the workers have already been rehired, while the remaining workers will return to their jobs in May. The company said it is accepting applications until the end of March from 80 workers who have yet to apply for reinstatement.
GM Daewoo said it had a record year in 2005 with sales breaking the one million mark for the first time. Sales have nearly tripled since the launch of the company in 2002.
According to GM Daewoo, GM holds a 50.9 percent stake, followed by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp. has an 11.2 percent stake, while Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. holds 9.9 percent. The remaining 28 percent is held by creditors of Daewoo Motor.
``We have succeeded in building a labor-management culture that is based on mutual respect,'' GM Daewoo President and CEO Nick Reilly said in the release. ``This new culture has given us the confidence to bring back all Daewoo Motor Co. employees and expand our Bupyung operations.''
GM Daewoo's Bupyung plant, in Incheon, is the automaker's largest. Incheon is a port city just west of Seoul.
GM has suffered from declining U.S. market share at the hands of its Asian competitors and lost $8.6 billion in 2005. The company has said it plans to cut 30,000 jobs and close 12 facilities by 2008.
GM's CEO Rick Wagoner plans to meet on Friday with GM Daewoo officials and the head of the company's labor union, Reilly said.