Workers vote for strike action at Birmingham car parts factory

Union members at GKN Driveline in Birmingham have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in the campaign to prevent the closure of the factory and transfer of its work overseas.

The GKN site off Chester Road in Birmingham. Photo: Google
The GKN site off Chester Road in Birmingham. Photo: Google

The closure of the Chester Road 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.

Unite members delivered a 95 per cent vote in favour of strike on a 95 per cent turnout.

Alternative proposals have been developed to save the site and try and prevent the parent company GKN Melrose closing the plant.

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 chef executive Liam Butterworth.

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

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."

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