Page last updated at 08:45 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Union to fight GKN plant closures

GKN Driveline, Aldridge, Walsall
GKN's plant in Aldridge is earmarked for closure

A union is to fight plans to close two car components factories in the West Midlands with the loss of 323 jobs.

GKN, based in Redditch, Worcestershire, has said it intends to close its plants in Birmingham and Walsall.

It is part of a restructuring package announced in January which will see 564 UK jobs axed following the decline in demand in the motor industry.

The union Unite said it believed the company had "genuine alternatives" to job cuts on this scale.

GKN supplies carmakers including Jaguar Land Rover and Ford.

Global slump

Under its proposals, its forge facility in Hamstead, Birmingham, will close by the end of the year and its car parts facility in Aldridge, Walsall, will close by the middle of 2010.

Unite joint general secretary Derek Simpson said: "The workers have vowed to fight these closures and Unite will be doing everything in its power to support them.

"We believe there are genuine alternatives to the number of job cuts the company is currently proposing.

"We expect GKN to give the union's plans serious consideration."

GKN union representatives were meeting senior Unite officers in West Bromwich to draw up counter proposals to put to GKN management.

The union has claimed GKN workers in the UK are bearing the brunt of the European job cuts because UK workers are cheaper and easier to sack than workers from other countries in Europe.

GKN said in January it had cut 2,800 jobs globally since October and may shed more in the future because of the slump in the global car industry.

The group, which employs 42,000 people worldwide, also wants to axe 150 jobs at its plant in Telford, Shropshire.

Fifty-six posts would go with the closure of its aerospace services site in Burnley, Lancashire, and another 35 jobs are to be cut in Luton, Bedfordshire.

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