Unite workplace representatives, workers and apprentices from GKN will warn the West of England joint committee of the threat posed to jobs and the region’s aerospace industry by a hostile takeover bid of GKN by Melrose today (Friday 2 February).
The committee, which is a combine of the four unitary authorities, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, along with Bristol mayor, Marvin Rees and West of England mayor Tim Bowles, is meeting today at Kingswood civic centre, High St, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 9TR.
Unite is scheduled to address the committee in the public session between 13:00 and 14:00. The union is expected to warn that Melrose’s debt fuelled bid is a return to 1980’s ‘cowboy capitalism’ with jobs axed and sites sold off to fund short-term returns for shareholders.
Seeking the support of the committee, Unite regional coordinating officer for the south west Steve Preddy, is expected to say: “GKN is a major engineering business and a world leader in motor manufacturing, aerospace, and defence.
“The Filton site employs 1,600 people, with the highest skills sets and engineering expertise producing high quality products for blue chip companies like Airbus and Boeing.
“GKN’s Western Approach site employs hundreds more at one of the world’s most advanced composite materials’ wing production sites.
“The aerospace sector in the south west is the UK’s largest. Some 17,000 people are employed across numerous direct and supply chain companies. Barely a town or constituency in the region is left untouched by this profoundly important sector of our economy.
“GKN is a large investor and stakeholder in the national composite centre here in our region, having invested £30 million into Airbus’ future wing development.
“It is critical that GKN remains in place as a supporter of all these projects to help secure a strong local economy and future employment in our world leading aerospace sector.
“The alternative is Melrose, which has stated openly that it will look at jobs and sites as disposable assets to fund shareholder dividend returns, removing growth opportunities for our region and its aerospace cluster at a stroke.”
For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.