Britain’s largest union, Unite said it had ‘no confidence’ in Melrose’s vision or strategy for GKN after the firm refused to give guarantees on jobs, skills and investment today (Monday 19 March).
In a full and frank exchange with Melrose bosses this morning, Unite representatives pressed for concrete guarantees on levels of investment and where it would be targeted should Melrose succeed with its hostile takeover of GKN.
Today’s meeting followed recent warnings from GKN’s biggest customer, Airbus that it would be ‘practically impossible’ for it to give GKN any new work should Melrose succeed with its debt-laden takeover bid because of the uncertainty generated by its short-term approach.
Speaking after the meeting Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Tony Burke said: “Unite remains of the view that Melrose’s takeover would be bad for UK jobs, investment and GKN customers. After a full and frank exchange with Melrose, we received no sense that key personnel with the right experience are in place to manage the aerospace and automotive divisions.
“The refusal to offer concrete guarantees on jobs and skills, combined with no clear long-term strategy to drive growth and innovation across the business should concern shareholders.”
Unite assistant general secretary for aerospace Steve Turner added: “The short-term, profit-driven nature of Melrose’s bid is leading to rising anger and instability amongst GKN’s workforce, as well as concerns with major customers, such as Airbus, which work in partnership with the company on civil and highly sensitive long-term defence contracts for the UK and our allies.
“We urge shareholders to back stable long-term relationships and investment in world class design, engineering and manufacturing that only GKN can provide.
“Our members, who collectively have thousands of years’ experience, urge shareholders to vote against Melrose’s debt-laden takeover and call on the business secretary Greg Clark to call the bid in to protect UK defence interests, as well as those of our allies.”
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.