Workers at a GKN Automotive plant in Birmingham could take strike action later this summer over the company’s proposals to shut the site, potentially axing more than 500 jobs.
The engineering and manufacturing group announced in January that it had launched a consultation with staff over the future of the factory in Erdington which makes driveline systems for cars.
The proposal is part of plans to move some of these services overseas, with the factory set to shut in summer 2022 if it goes ahead.
Now, members of the Unite trade union are poised to hold a ballot for full industrial action following a recent consultative ballot in which the workforce “overwhelmingly voted” in favour of striking.
Earlier this year, a joint consultative committee put forward an alternative business proposal for the Chester Road site, which the union says is critical for the successful electrification of the UK’s automotive industry, but this was rejected by GKN’s owner Melrose in May.
The Greater Birmingham Apprenticeship Awards are back for 2021 and now open for entries here.
The event will be held at Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham on Thursday November 11 and will celebrate apprentices, employers and training providers across 12 categories including our overall Apprentice of the Year.
The deadline to enter the awards is Friday September 17 and sponsorship opportunities are also now available.
Please email [email protected] for details and follow the hashtag #GBAA21 for updates on social media.
For more information about our Apprenticeship Awards and other events please visit www.reachplcevents.com.
Any strike action would take place later in the summer, if members voted for it, Unite said.
It added that the union and staff were “highly dismayed” initial government promises of support to ensure the factory remained open had so far amounted to nothing.
It is also planning to hold a demonstration and lobby of parliament.
GKN, which is one of the UK’s oldest engineering firms, has its global headquarters in Redditch and was sold to Birmingham-based investment firm Melrose Industries in 2018 for £8.1 billion.
Des Quinn, Unite’s national officer for the automotive sector, said: “The GKN workforce is prepared to go the extra mile to ensure the future of the factory and pave the way for the successful electrification of the UK car industry but their ambitions are being squashed by government inaction and Melrose’s determination to close the site.
“As such, the workers believe they have no option other than to take strike action. This step is a last resort and it will inevitably cause severe disruption to production schedules for the company’s key customers.
“The solution is obvious. The Government needs to make good on its promises to support the company through a period of change and Melrose needs to end its threat of closing a strategically important and valuable asset.”
GKN Automotive declined the comment.