General Motors Suspends Production In Thailand

BANGKOK (AP) -- General Motors Co.'s plant in Thailand has halted production after hundreds of workers went on strike to demand higher pay and better conditions, an official said Wednesday.

It marked the third day the assembly line's operations were suspended since several hundred of its 1,700 workers began striking Monday.

The workers are pressing for higher pay in the form of incentive payments and more freedom for the union to organize, but have failed to reach an agreement with management.

"The negotiation this morning still yields no settlement. There will be another round of negotiation tomorrow ... the union will continue to go on strike," said GM spokeswoman Sasinan Allmand.

Workers Union of General Motors secretary-general Suriya Phochailert said the strike came after 11 months of failed negotiations with GM for better benefits.

"GM says it cannot meet the union's demand for better terms of employment because of the economic crisis but from the company's financial report, its operation in Thailand is still profitable," Suriya said.

The factory in the eastern seaboard province of Rayong makes one-ton pickup trucks and passenger cars. Before the strike its 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.

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.

More in Operations