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Kumho Workers Go on Strike Amid DoubleStar Purchase

Kumho Tire workers are on strike after Chinese company Qingdao Doublestar Co. Ltd bought a majority stake in the company.

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Kumho Tire workers are on strike after Chinese company Qingdao Doublestar Co. Ltd bought a majority stake in the company, the Korea Times reported.

The Times says the union’s 4,000 members, including 3,500 workers at the tiremaker’s three factories in Gwangju, Gokseong County in South Jeolla Province and Pyeongtaek in Gyeonggi Province as well as 500 irregular employees re holding a 24-hour walkout from 6:30 a.m.Wednesday to 6:30 a.m. Thursday.

Last week, the union demanded that creditors negotiate on the Doublestar takeover and the payment of overdue wages by noon Tuesday, the Korea Times reported. But the news organization said Kumho’s main creditor, the Korea Development Bank, rejected the union’s demands Monday.

At the beginning of March, Doublestar invested 646.3 billion won ($597.4 million USD) for a 45% stake in South Korea’s Kumho Tire Co. Inc. The deal followed months of on-again, off-again negotiations and faced early opposition from Korean labor unions, who have vowed to block the deal.  Kumho’s debt, which totals 1.9 trillion won ($1.8 billion), was extended to the end of January to facilitate a bailout deal through a debt restricting process.

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While Kumho Tire USA, Inc. has enjoyed increased stability and growth, the global organization was back-and-forth in negotiations with Korea Development Bank for almost a year to save the company. Last April, a deal for Qingdao Doublestar to purchase Kumho fell through after Kumho’s creditors and Doublestar failed to reach an agreement on financial terms. Doublestar’s takeover now begins a lengthy process as it looks to reconcile Kumho’s debt.

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