UPDATE 1-GM Korea sees 'positive signal' as union talks to resume this week

(Adds details on negotiations, background)

SEOUL, Feb 27 (Reuters) - General Motors' South Korean unit said it plans to resume wage talks with its labor union on Wednesday, earlier than expected, as it tries to cut structural costs at the loss-making operations and keep its factories open.

Annual wage negotiations were suspended earlier this month after the U.S. automaker said it would shut one of its factories in South Korea and decide the fate of the three remaining facilities in the coming weeks.

GM said it would propose a base wage freeze and no bonuses this year along with a suspension of some benefits such as tuition for employees' children and gold medals for long-serving workers.

"We hope to make meaningful progress in future negotiations with our labor union ... We see this as a positive signal," a GM Korea spokesman said.

Union leader Lim Han-taek told Reuters last week that it would be difficult for the talks to resume before mid-March unless the company accepted workers' demands, including to keep the plant open.

Since then the union has come under intense pressure from South Korean conservative media to make wage concessions to prevent GM's exit from the country, where it employs 16,000 people.

Later on Wednesday, the union would hold a rally in central Seoul near the U.S. embassy, before marching towards the presidential office, he said. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin Editing by Stephen Coates)