Unite, the UK’s leading union, is calling for all interested parties to work together to secure the future of the GKN Birmingham factory, following the announcement today that GKN Automotive has rejected the alternative business plan to keep the factory open.

Closure threat

In January this year the management of GKN Automotive announced that it intended to close the Chester Road factory in 2022, with the loss of over 500 jobs and the work being transferred to Europe.

Alternative business plan

In response, earlier this month a joint consultative committee comprising members of Unite and local management at the factory presented an alternative business plan, setting out a viable long–term future for the site.

However, today (Wednesday 19 May) while praising the content of the alternative business plan, GKN Automotive rejected its findings and stated that they wished to move forward to the next stage of the consultation process.

Deeply disappointing

The Unite convenor at the plant, Frank Duffy, said: “This is a deeply disappointing response from GKN Automotive.

 “Unite entirely rejects the false notion that there is not a long-term viable future for the GKN Birmingham factory.”

Joined up action

Unite national officer for the automotive sector, Des Quinn, said: “Unite calls on all interested parties including central government, local government, the supply chain, customers and GKN Automotive to come together and ensure the factory’s future.

 “The UK’s automotive sector needs e-drive suppliers and a sustainable supply chain or the entire UK automotive sector is at risk of collapse.

 “GKN Birmingham has the ability to supply the e-drives that the UK’s automotive sector desperately needs, it just needs the vision, support and investment to ensure it has a crucial role to play in the electrification of UK vehicles.

 “In order for the electrification of cars to be a success in the UK, it is essential that GKN remains open and full functioning and in order for that to be achieved it needs government support.”

Melrose owned

Since 2018, GKN has been owned by venture capitalists Melrose. Melrose’s purchase of GKN was highly controversial. In response to fears that GKN was going to be asset stripped, Melrose promised shareholders and investors that it would establish a ‘UK manufacturing powerhouse’.


Notes to editors:

 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.