Workers at a Birmingham engineering plant tabled for closure are being balloted over industrial action.
The vote will be held among staff at GKN Automotive in Erdington between August 16 and 31 which could see them down tools over the company’s proposals to shut the factory, with the potential loss of more than 500 jobs.
It was first announced in January that a consultation had been launched with staff over the future of the site in Chester Road which makes driveline systems for cars.
GKN Automotive said it was planning to move operations abroad and the factory would close by 2022 if the proposals went ahead.
In May, company bosses rejected an alternative business proposal put forward by a coalition of GKN workers, the factory’s senior management, officials from trade union Unite and local politicians including Erdington MP Jack Dromey.
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The wider GKN group, whose global headquarters are in Redditch and which is one of the UK’s oldest engineering firms, was sold to Birmingham-based turnaround investor Melrose Industries in 2018 for £8.1 billion.
Unite’s national officer Des Quinn said: “When Melrose bought GKN, there were howls of protest when fears were raised that the new owners could asset strip the company.
“Melrose’s current actions will make many people believe their assurances to GKN’s shareholders that the opposite was true were empty words.
“Melrose has every opportunity to keep this factory open, including a viable alternative business model, promises of support from government and a crucial role to play in the electrification of the auto industry.
“It is certainly not the actions of a company that vowed, when taking over GKN, to establish a ‘UK manufacturing powerhouse’.
“Instead, it looks like the actions of a company committed to short-term profit hikes at the expense of business longevity and sustainability.”
GKN declined to comment on the ballot.