GKN Automotive workers present plan to keep Birmingham plant open

Unite union members at GKN Automotive’s Birmingham plant have presented bosses with an alternative business plan in a bid to save its 500 jobs.

A campaign to save the facility was launched in January when venture capital firm Melrose, which bought GKN in 2018, announced that it would close in 2022, despite promising to create a “British manufacturing powerhouse”.

In response, Unite set up a team of union officers, senior management at the plant, shop stewards and local politicians, including local MP Jack Dromey, to develop an alternative business plan to keep the plant open. That detailed work has now been completed.

The alternative business plan highlights that the Chester Road site has an “excellent record of delivering on improvement and transformation plans on time and on budget”.

The plan also says that the workforce is highly adaptable in a fast changing environment and can operate in difficult circumstances. This has been demonstrated by how the workforce has reacted to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The alternative business plan details a high value of operational savings and establishes a set period when potential investment will be paid back.

The government has also said it will provide significant assistance to ensure that the Birmingham plant is a success.

Frank Duffy, the Unite convener at the plant, said: “Senior figures representing workers and management have developed an excellent comprehensive alternative business plan which will ensure the future of the Birmingham plant.

“What we now need is for the management at GKN Automotive to show the commitment and desire to work with Unite and the government to secure the future of the plant.

“The government’s commitment to assist with securing the future of this plant is crucial, the door is firmly open to GKN Automotive.

“The workforce at Birmingham has committed to deliver for GKN Automotive, it is now time for GKN Automotive to deliver for its Birmingham workforce.”

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