It has been revealed that government ministers will be expected to answer questions relating to GKN’s announcement that it is closing its aerospace plant in Kings Norton, Birmingham. This will see the loss of 170 jobs and has come as shock to employees.
The talks will be led by Birmingham Labour MP Richard Burden, who wants an explanation for the closure plans and reassurances for the staff and their families.
The industrial firm Melrose took control of GKN in a hostile takeover in 2018; at the same time, Greg Clark, the business secretary, informed parliament that he had secured written guarantees from Melrose Industries about the future.
The business, which manufactures high-performance windows and screens for military and civilian aircraft, has said that it plans to transfer ongoing projects to other sites. It is thought that these will be abroad rather than in the UK.
Mr Clark will be under pressure to explain the latest developments, as GKN was said to be committed to a future in the UK and working with suppliers, employees and businesses to ensure production continued.
Silicone moulding companies such as http://www.meadex.co.uk/silicone-mouldings that produce high-performance mouldings, technical injection mouldings and precision mouldings in silicone compounds across many industry sectors, including aerospace, are likely to be watching developments very closely.
GKN has said the reason for the closure is that the Kings Norton plant is no longer financially viable. Employees have only recently learned about the plans, which will be likely to have a detrimental impact on the community.
In more bad news for Birmingham, the city centre is currently witnessing a nine-day protest by black cab drivers opposed to the £8 fee for drivers of high-polluting vehicles. A grant of £5,000 has been offered by the council to upgrade cabs; however, this is not thought to be enough and Birmingham’s branch of the RMT union is demanding more.
Defence Minister Stuart Andrew has defended the decision by GKN, saying that Melrose has not reneged on its deal. It is not stopping manufacturing; instead, it is simply moving it to a different location to make it more cost effective.
It is thought that the transfer of work will take place over the next two years and that the site will be closed sometime in 2021.