Workers vote for strike action at Birmingham auto parts factory

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

The closure of the Chester Road plant, which manufactures drivelines for the UK auto industry, would result in the loss of 519 skilled jobs and apprenticeships as well as opportunities for generations to come.

Unite members voted 95 percent in favor of the strike with a turnout of 95 percent.

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

Unite brought together all interested parties to reach an agreement on future production and support, given the key role of factories in the automotive sector’s transition to electrification. These include the government, local politicians, customers of GKN – such as JLR, Toyota and Nissan – the Advanced Propulsion Center and GKN Automotive chief executive Liam Butterworth.

Failure to reach an agreement could see a strike hit the plant and customers in 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 stand up for their jobs, their community and the future at long term of their factory.

“This is a highly viable plant that could and should play a leading role as the UK moves to electrify its automotive industry.

“It is now incumbent upon everyone concerned with the future of GKN Driveline, including customers, government, local politicians and GKN’s parent company, Melrose PLC, to come together to define a future for the plant and the UK’s supply of key components. “The alternative is a protracted dispute that will hurt both GKN and the company’s customers.

“We have called an urgent meeting of all parties involved and we expect both GKN, its customers, and the government to respond positively to a viable alternative plan to secure the future of the plant.

“The ball is now firmly in GKN and Melrose’s court and how they react will dictate how this dispute unfolds in the weeks and months to come.”

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