GKN factory in Birmingham set to close putting 500 jobs at risk

A car parts factory is set to close putting up to 519 jobs at risk.

Birmingham Erdington MP Jack Dromey said the announcement by GKN was “completely unexpected” and brought to an end more than 50 years of manufacturing at the Chester Road site.

Unite the union said it was seeking urgent meetings with GKN claiming the factory remains “extremely viable”.

GKN said it had tried to reduce the site’s operating costs but competition from abroad had made it unviable.

It said the proposed closure had been a “difficult decision” after a “significant effort” had been made over the past 10 years to invest in the GKN Driveline factory.

Labour’s Mr Dromey described it as “a world-class producer for the automotive industry and one of the biggest suppliers into car plants across the West Midlands”.

GKN was bought by investment firm Melrose Industries in March 2018.

The MP said the announcement had come despite “promises made by Melrose during the takeover bid to make GKN a ‘British manufacturing powerhouse'”.

Unite national officer Des Quinn said: “The workforce have been left shocked and angry to learn that management is looking to close this highly viable site.

“Unite is now seeking urgent meetings with senior management at GKN to understand the business case and the logic behind this decision.”

It said the company had told it the factory would close in 18 months’ time with work transferred to other factories in Europe.