GKN Automotive must use the government’s job retention scheme ‘properly’ and halt plans to make 185 staff at its Birmingham factory redundant, Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Thursday 2 July).

Unite, which represents nearly all of the automotive supply chain firm’s 600 strong workforce, said the company’s decision to begin consultation over making nearly a third of staff redundant was ‘rash’

Referring to the fact that employers will have to start paying a fifth of furloughed workers’ wages from August, the union accused GKN Automotive of abandoning its staff as soon as the firm was expected to contribute. 

Unite national officer Des Quinn said: “The clue to the job retention scheme is in the name – it’s meant to save jobs. But as soon as GKN Automotive realised it would have to make a contribution they decided to throw their hard working and loyal staff under the bus. 

“Unite is calling on GKN Automotive to do the right thing and use the furlough scheme properly to halt this rash decision on redundancies. It is something the firm can well afford to do so there is absolutely no justification for not keeping staff furloughed until the scheme ends in October.  

“By then a clearer picture of the economic situation facing the company will have emerged and management, in full consultation with Unite, will be able to make an informed decision on how to proceed.”


During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.