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GM says strike at Thai assembly plant settled

October 15, 2009

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BANGKOK—The Thai subsidiary of General Motors says it has reached an agreement with striking workers at its assembly plant that will allow production to resume Thursday.

Its factory in the eastern seaboard province of Rayong, which makes one-ton pickup trucks and passenger cars, had halted production on Oct. 5 when several hundred of its 1,700 workers began striking for higher pay and better conditions.

Thailand is a regional production and export base for several global automakers including Toyota and Nissan.

A statement issued late Wednesday night by GM said General Motors Thailand and the Workers Union of GM reached an agreement "that is mutually beneficial with the shared objective of ensuring continued growth and sustainability of GM and the Chevrolet brand in Thailand and around the region."

"The agreement accords employees an opportunity to benefit directly from that success," it said, providing no further details.

Comment from the union was not immediately available.

Union Secretary-General Suriya Phochailert said last week the strike came after 11 months of failed negotiations with GM for better benefits.

The automaker laid off nearly 800 workers at the plant in February.

"But after the layoffs, GM increased the production rate again, and workers now have larger workloads," said Suriya.

Before the strike, weekly production was about 1,200 vehicles.

GM in June forecast production from the plant to slump 62 percent this year to 40,000 vehicles from 104,000 in 2008 because of the world economic downturn.