Workers at the GKN Automotive factory, alongside members of the local community, will hold a protest tomorrow (Wednesday 7 July) in opposition to the plans by its parent company GKN Melrose to close the site.

WHEN: Wednesday 7 July between 13:00 – 14:00.

WHERE: Sorrel Park (at the rear of the GKN site) Egerton Road, Erdington, Birmingham B24 0RG.

Lobby of parliament

The protest follows immediately on the heels of a lobby of parliament by workers at GKN, which occurred today (Tuesday 6 July).

Earlier this year, GKN Melrose announced that it intended to close the factory, which makes drivelines for the automotive industry, in 2022, with the loss of over 500 jobs. GKN Melrose has said it intends to transfer the work to Europe.

Viable plant

Unite, in conjunction with other stakeholders, developed an alternative business plan that would secure the future of the factory, however the plans were rejected by the parent company, which is currently pressing ahead with its closure plans.

Unite and automotive experts believe that the GKN factory is strategically important to the success of the electrification of the UK automotive sector and it should be provided with funding and support to develop the new drivelines that will be required for electric vehicles.

Government promises?

The government had previously promised to provide assistance and support in the transformation of the factory to adapt to electric vehicles but so far those promises have proved to be entirely hollow.

Last week Unite announced that it was preparing to ballot its members for a full industrial action ballot, in response to the closure plans. If members vote in favour then strikes could begin later this summer.

Strength of feeling 

Unite regional secretary for the West Midlands, Annmarie Kilcline, said: “The protest will demonstrate the strength of feeling among workers at GKN and the local community against the plans to close the factory.

 “This is a highly viable factory which should be preparing to play a key strategic role in the move to electrify the UK’s automotive industry.

 “Closing the factory would be an act of gross industrial vandalism.

 “It is not just the workers at the factory who would be affected by the potential closure but hundreds of workers in the company’s supply chain and the local community would all  suffer job losses.

 “It is essential that the government makes good on its promises to provide assistance and they work with Unite and local politicians to keep this factory open.”

ENDS

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

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

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.