Armed striking workers still have possession of Ssangyong Motor Co. Ltd.’s Pyongtaek assembly plant in South Korea and are threatening violence unless management withdraws its plan to eliminate another 1,000 jobs, a spokesman tells Wards.

“The striking workers have made lots of weapons from metal, like spears and clubs and slingshots,” he says. “They have been on strike now for 19 days, locking up our plant.

“Nobody from management is permitted to enter the plant. So it could cause a delay in the production (launch) of our C200 (cross/utility vehicle), but we will do our most to (build the vehicle) according to our schedule.”

The C200 is scheduled for start of production later this summer, and the company previously had said the strike would not delay its plan.

The spokesman says management today offered to defer the plan to eliminate another 1,000 jobs if the workers would end their sit-in. But the offer was rejected, with workers insisting on no further job cuts.

He says the strikers have caused some damage at the plant, but there have been no reported injuries.

“We have taken legal action and asked for police support to protect our plant. It depends on the government’s decision whether or not to have police disperse the workers.”

More than 1,000 workers who have not joined in the strike rallied with concerned citizens over the weekend at Pyongtaek stadium, demanding strikers end the sit-in and negotiate peacefully with management.

More such anti-strike demonstrations are planned this week, the Ssangyong spokesman says.

Under its restructuring plan, the bankrupt company is reducing its headcount by 2,646, or about 36% of the workforce.

To date, more than 1,600 workers have opted for early retirement, with another 1,000 still on the termination list.