Workers at GKN Driveline in Chester Road, Birmingham, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action as the battle to prevent the closure of the factory and transfer of its work overseas. 

The closure of the factory, which makes drivelines for the UK’s automotive industry, would see the loss of 519 skilled jobs and apprenticeships as well as opportunities for coming generations.

Delivering a 95 per cent vote in favour of strike on a 95 per cent turnout, the workers demonstrated their determination to secure a long-term future for their plant. The vote also showed confidence in both their union, the alternative proposals developed to save the site and their opposition to the plans by the parent company GKN Melrose to close the plant.

Decisive yes vote 

Following the decisive yes vote, Unite has called together all interested parties to reach agreement on future production and support, given the plants key role in the transition of the automotive sector to electrification. These include the government, local politicians, GKN’s customers – such as JLR, Toyota and Nissan – the Advanced Propulsion Centre and GKN Automotive CEO Liam Butterworth.

A failure to reach agreement could see strike action hit the plant and customers over the coming weeks.

Tremendous result 

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “This is a tremendous result and shows the determination and confidence of the GKN workforce to fight for their jobs, their community and the long-term future of their plant.

“This is a highly viable plant which could and should be playing a leading role as the UK moves to the electrification of its automotive sector.

“It is now incumbent that everyone concerned with the future of GKN Driveline including customers, the government, local politicians and GKN’s parent company Melrose PLC, come together to hammer out a future for the plant and the UK’s supply of key components.

“The alternative is a long drawn-out dispute that will damage both GKN and the company’s customer base.

“We have called an urgent meeting of all parties involved and expect both GKN, its customer base, as well as the government, to respond positively to a viable alternative plan to secure the plant’s future. 

 “The ball is now firmly in GKN and Melrose’s court and how they respond will dictate how this dispute will develop over the coming weeks and months.


Notes to editors:

 GKN Birmingham strike ballot begins as Unite raises concerns over government research support

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Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.