Workers at the GKN automotive engineering plant in Birmingham have voted to strike in a campaign to prevent the factory’s closure. The employees voted overwhelmingly for action to save the plant and more than 500 skilled jobs. Some of the work carried out in Birmingham is set to be transferred overseas to other GKN plants. The factory in Erdington assembles driveline systems for petrol and diesel cars. The planned closure next year would be a further blow to the UK car manufacturing sector. It has outraged unions and MPs after the parent company, Melrose, pledged to keep some aerospace operations in the UK during its hostile takeover of GKN in 2018. However, those assurances did not cover GKN’s automotive arm, leaving the Erdington factory vulnerable. The ballot had a 95% turnout, of which 95% of workers voted to strike. Unite has called on interested parties, including GKN’s customers such as Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota and Nissan, the government and the plant’s bosses, to reach an agreement on future production and support for Erdington to head off strikes in the coming weeks. The union says that, with investment in new tools, the plant could have a key role in the transition of the sector to manufacturing electric vehicles, with new petrol and diesel cars banned from 2030.
Guardian 1st Sept 2021 read more »