Stop the GKN takeover

john sweeneyJohn and 6,000 other GKN workers are at the cutting edge of engineering in aerospace, car manufacturing and defence. The work they do helps keep us safe, go on holiday or do the school run. Their jobs help sustain our communities and our economy.

John fears that could all change. Melrose, a self-styled ‘turnaround’ specialist has made a hostile takeover bid for GKN. GKN will be saddled with over £1.3 billion of debt if Melrose succeeds with its bid, while its advisors will pocket upwards to £140 million in fees. The champagne will flow in parts of the City, but at what cost?

John and his workmates are worried that they will pay for this debt fuelled payday with their livelihoods and be flogged off to the highest bidder as the company is broken up to turn a quick buck.

In Melrose’s hands, ministers’ plans for the UK to be a leader in electric vehicles could be derailed. Technology and jobs risk being shipped abroad, and because of GKN’s defence work our national security could be at risk.

The government can and should use its existing power to intervene.

Theresa May has said she will act in the national interest. GKN workers from across the UK are urging her government to keep her word and block the bid to protect jobs, communities and our national security. 

GKN Take Action Button
Unite is the main union representing workers across GKN’s UK automotive, aerospace and research and development divisions which employ a total of 6,000 workers.

Unite is campaigning to defend GKN and thousands of highly skilled manufacturing jobs from this hostile bid. What we need is a long-term commitment, matched by investment, rather than a damaging restructure or a hostile takeover. 

What YOU can do  
Write to your MP  
MPsSenior GKN reps lobbying MPs – Rebecca-Long Bailey, Lucy Allan, Ian Mearns and Jack Dromeymust put pressure on the Secretary of State to intervene and block any bid which fails to protect the long term interests of the business and the workforce. 

We have drafted a letter below as a template for you to write to your MP. It only takes a minute and you can find a full list of MPs with GKN sites in their constituencies under campaign resources below too.  

Picture: Senior GKN reps from across all major UK sites lobbying MPs – Rebecca-Long Bailey, Lucy Allan, Ian
Mearns and Jack Dromey
Have your say 

If you are a GKN worker, it is important that Unite’s response to this takeover bid is led by you. Please share your views on our online survey here Or visit: options and details will be treated in strict confidence).

Join a workplace meeting  
Unite senior stewards will be holding members’ meetings in all major GKN workplace. Contact your rep for more information. 

Together we can make a difference.

Sample content to contact your MP

Support GKN: Oppose The Hostile Takeover


I am writing to you as my constituency MP to call for your support. I work at GKN [INSERT THE NAME OF YOUR LOCATION HERE] and our company is subject to a hostile takeover bid from Melrose, which threatens hundreds of highly skilled jobs in your constituency.

GKN is one of this country’s most important manufactures, supplying components to automotive and aerospace giants such as Jaguar Land Rover and Airbus. The company employs over 6,000 workers across 14 UK sites. All that is being put at risk by Melrose, a so-called ‘turnaround’ company, which looks no further than the share price. 

The Melrose bid is based on using vast loans to lure shareholders with an ‘exceptional dividend’ and then shoulder GKN with a debt that the workforce will be expected to pay off through cuts and restructures. The takeover’s focus goes little beyond a pay out to shareholders, banks and the Melrose executives who are in line for over £280 million in bonuses. There is no serious long-term plan for GKN’s future, which must be based on investment to defend thousands of highly skilled jobs.

My trade union, Unite, is coordinating opposition to the bid alongside sister unions across GKN’s international operations. I am calling on you to support us by demanding, in the House of Commons, that the Secretary of State Greg Clark intervenes in the public interest. It is clear that the Melrose bid is focused only on share price, not on what is best for the business, or the thousands of workers whose livelihoods rely on it.

If the Government’s promise of an industrial strategy is to mean anything it must mean supporting us, the workers in industries who will make it possible. It cannot mean turning a blind eye to a debt-fuelled takeover which sets a precedent for a return to the cowboy capitalism of the 1980’s.

As a matter of urgency I would like to request a meeting with you so that we can discuss our concerns and any support you can give.

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Yours faithfully




Unite Member

Type Name Size
Link Type Icon Unite employees’ reps’ opinion on the Melrose offer for GKN 0.12Mb
Link Type Icon GKN Template Letter to MPs 0.01Mb
Link Type Icon List of MPs with GKN sites in their constituencies 0.02Mb
Link Type Icon GKN Takeover Bulletin January 2018 0.83Mb

More campaign news ›