NEWS: Strike action set for GKN Chester Road factory as workers ‘fight for their jobs’

Words by Adam Smith / Pics supplied by Unite and Jack Dromey MP for Erdington

Workers at GKN Driveline have overwhelmingly voted to strike in the face of the Chester Road factory being closed next year.

Unite the Union held a ballot for industrial action and revealed today 95% of workers who voted wanted industrial action.

Announcing the ballot result Unite declared if GKN’s owners do not back down over closure they “could see strike action hit the plant and customers over the coming weeks.”

There was a turnout of 95% meaning of the 519 workers facing redundancy 93.1% voted to strike.

Unite can now call a strike within the next six months providing they give GKN seven days notice.

In January this year, GKN Driveline owners Melrose announced plans to close the factory and have ignored Unite the Union’s alternative business plan to save the factory.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “This is a tremendous result and shows the determination and confidence of the GKN workforce to fight for their jobs, their community and the long-term future of their plant.

“This is a highly viable plant which could and should be playing a leading role as the UK moves to the electrification of its automotive sector.”

He added: “It is now incumbent that everyone concerned with the future of GKN Driveline including customers, the government, local politicians and GKN’s parent company Melrose PLC, come together to hammer out a future for the plant and the UK’s supply of key components.

“The alternative is a long drawn-out dispute that will damage both GKN and the company’s customer base.

“We have called an urgent meeting of all parties involved and expect both GKN, its customer base, as well as the government, to respond positively to a viable alternative plan to secure the plant’s future.

“The ball is now firmly in GKN and Melrose’s court and how they respond will dictate how this dispute will develop over the coming weeks and months.”

Erdington MP Jack Dromey worked extensively on the alternative business plan for the GKN plant and backed workers plans for industrial action.

He said: “Today’s result sends a clear and unambiguous message to Melrose/GKN that the 519 workers will do all in their power to save the historic Chester Road plant from closure.

“In one of the poorest constituencies in the country, the closure of the Chester Road plant would be a hammer-blow to the local community.

“Generations of local families have been given greater opportunities in life due to GKN, yet Melrose/GKN now want to close the plant without even considering any alternative to closure.”

He added: “The workers have today shown that they will stand up to protect their livelihoods, their local community and the opportunities available for future generations. They remain open to any discussions to avoid industrial action and to keep the plant open. They can be assured of my wholehearted support.”

To find out more about GKN visit www.gknautomotive.com

For more from Unite the Union visit www.unitetheunion.org

For more from Jack Dromey MP for Erdington visit www.jackdromey.co.uk

EXPLOITED: Residents fight plans for £399,999 ‘investment opportunity’ HMO on Yenton Grove

Words by Adam Smith / Pics by Ed King

A group of fed up Erdington residents are fighting plans for an exempt housing property on Yenton Grove after uncovering an historic covenant on the house.

The law currently allows companies to move vulnerable tenants into exempt housing without planning permission and the Erdington ward property has already been converted into six rooms with kitchenettes.

However, residents have uncovered a legal agreement stating the house must be kept as a ‘single dwelling’ property – which if enforced by Birmingham City Council could thwart developer’s plans to turn the property into exempt accommodation worth £399,999 .

Residents have created a WhatsApp group to share information, whilst Erdington Councillors Robert Alden and Gareth Moore are gathering local objections to present to Birmingham City Council.

To access an online version of Cllrs Alden and Moore’s ‘Petition to enforce single private dwelling covenant at 24 Yenton Grove’ click here.

One Yenton Grove mother, who does not want her family’s name revealed for fear of recriminations, contacted Erdington Local to help publicise the fight from local residents.

She said: “We already have an HMO on our little estate which has changed the character of the place so we are doing everything we can to stop another one or exempt housing.

“The deeds of the property include a covenant that state the house is for a single private dwelling and therefore by law the owner would need to apply for this to be changed.

“As part of that, notice would need to be given to neighbouring residents to enable them to object or support. No notice has been given and no change has been applied for.

“When questioned about the property at the beginning, the owner stated it would be a family home that he would be moving in to. It now has six rooms with ensuites and he has not moved in.”

She added: “There is a school 200 yards from the property. The back gate can be seen from the house. A multi-occupancy property of social housing is high risk with children walking by.

“One man in social housing down the road has had to be moved on due to him filming / taking pictures of the children at the back gate. Six individuals increase the risk of this happening again.”

She added: “The property has been put up for sale, but no notice has been put outside it. The only reason the residents found out was because one of them asked someone who came to view it.”

A petition has been launched by Erdington Councillors Robert Alden and Gareth Moore to put pressure on Birmingham City Council to honour the covenant on the house and prevent an HMO licence being granted.

Cllr Alden said: “There is a covenant on this property which requires it to remain as a single private dwelling, and so potentially could be used to stop the conversion if enforced.

“We have raised this with the Council and have demanded the covenant be enforced urgently and have launched this petition.”

He added: “We know there is speculation drug addicts and ex-offenders could be housed at the property.

“Clearly, we would be very concerned if the landlord intended to house such people at the property, especially given its proximity to Penns Primary School.”

24 Yenton Grove is listed on The Online Property Agency as for sale for £339,999 – the listing claims the property is suitable for an investment opportunity.

The OPA listed said: “Would you like a hands off investment opportunity? This property is let to a social housing provider on a 3 year lease until August 2024 rented for £2400 pcm/ £28,800 p.a.”

To see and sign the ‘Petition to enforce single private dwelling covenant at 24 Yenton Grove’ being circulated by Erdington Councillors Robert Alden and Gareth Moore, click here.

NEWS: Armed police storm house on Hillaries Road in pre-planned operation following knife attack in Kingstanding

Words by Adam Smith

Armed police stormed an Erdington house this afternoon tasering a man who was arrested in connection with the stabbing of a pensioner in Kingstanding.

In a pre-planned operation, dozens of police officers surrounded the house on Hillaries Road as a negotiator tried to convince the man to give himself up peacefully.

The operation had been organised by West Midlands Police after threats had been made against the force by the man – the scale and size of the response was in relation to potential danger to officers and civilians.

Erdington MP Jack Dromey confimed the orchstrated actions of the force later in the day.

He told Erdington Local: “I have been kept closely informed by West Midlands Police about the incident on Hillaries Road in Stockland Green. This was a pre-planned operation that was targeted at a specific individual who was wanted in connection with a serious crime.

“Understandably, the scenes have been disturbing for local residents. I welcome therefore the deployment of a large Police presence to ensure the situation was kept under control and to minimise any potential risk to those living nearby.

“The Police acted swiftly and decisively in apprehending the individual and I would like to thank them for their hard work in keeping the people of Erdington safe.”

During the raid, frightened residents were told to stay inside their homes as the drama played out with Hillaries Road witness describing the events as “terrifying, deeply upsetting and concerning.”

At 3.30pm the police operation concluded with a 49-year-old man being tasered, arrested and taken to hospital.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “A man has been arrested following a stand-off at a property in Hillaries Road, Erdington, this afternoon.

“The road was closed as firearms officers secured the scene and a force negotiator encouraged the man to come out peacefully.

“He was arrested at 3.30pm after a Taser was deployed and is being taken to hospital for minor injuries sustained during his arrest.”

The spokeman added: “The 49-year-old has been detained in connection with an attack on a man in Cooksey Lane, Kingstanding.

“The man in his 70s was taken to hospital although thankfully his injuries were not serious.”

The pensioner suffered a “slash wound” on his head during the attack on Sunday afternoon.

An air ambulance landed at nearby St George’s Playing Fields and after the victim was found there remained a large police presence on Cooksey Lane.

A West Midlands Ambulance spokesman said: “We were called to reports of a stabbing in Cooksey Lane on Sunday at 4.45pm.

“An ambulance, paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford with a MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic on board attended the scene.

“Crews treated one man who had sustained serious injuries which required trauma care on the scene. The man was conveyed by land ambulance on blue lights to hospital for further care.”

The previous day, Saturday, a 27-year-old man was stabbed in Witton Lakes Park, off Perry Common Road.

Three men punched and stabbed their victim in what the police described as “a targeted attack.”

The latest two incidents mirror a worrying increase in knife crime across Kingstanding and Erdington after the murder of schoolboy Dea-John Reid on College Road during May Bank Holiday weekend.

NEWS: GKN workers have ‘exhausted every avenue’ as voting begins over strike at Chester Road factory

Words by Adam Smith / Pics supplied by Unite and Jack Dromey MP

GKN Driveline workers have received their ballots for strike action and union bosses are urging them to vote yes.

Unite the Union held an online meeting last night to discuss industrial action and received messages of solidarity from workers across the world.

GKN Unite convener Frank Duffy, Unite West Midlands Regional Secretary Annmarie Kilcline, and Erdington MP Jack Dromey all spoke at the meeting – as well as some of the 519 workers who face redundancy if owners Melrose close the Chester Road factory.

Workers who are making their minds up about whether to strike have already been threatened by Melrose management.

Frank Duffy said: “Workers have been given letters threatening them if they vote yes in the ballot. They were returned to management and then letters were sent to home addresses but again the workforce brought them into the factory and told management they were not listening. I could not be more proud of them.”

If workers strike they will lose pay and bonuses, but Unite the Union is already fundraising for workers welfare during the potential strike.

Erdington workers have been joined in solidarity by workers in Florence, Italy, where Melrose is also closing a factory, leaving thousands more employees jobless.

Mr Duffy believes they have been forced into taking the last resort, industrial action.

He said: “Melrose has undermined this factory for years, the internal market of GKN consistently meant our factory lost out but we were told it was fine because the rest of the company was profitable.

“There are 51 sites across the world but just one in the UK, where the business started, and they are closing this one. Germany would not allow it; France would not, and our Government should not let this scandal happen.”

“They have paid lip service to the workers throughout this sham, they call it a consultation but I call it a sham, but as soon as they made the decision to close us down in January that was it.

“We have done everything possible, including creating an alternative business plan for the plant, but we were ignored.

“We’ve had seven months of hell but are now at a point when they have to listen to us – that’s why I am urging everyone to vote yes on their ballot for industrial action.”

Erdington MP Jack Dromey has been holding weekly meetings with Unite officials since the Melrose revealed its closure plans, which he warned would happen during its hostile takeover of the British engineering institution in 2016, as well as lobbying the Government to take a more proactive role.

He said: “GKN has a remarkable 262 years of history which can be traced back to when it provided the cannonballs for the British to fight Napoleon. The company contributed to the building of the Spitfire which helped defeat the Nazis.

“The Chester Road factory is a vital part of the future of electrification of the industry and cannot be allowed to close.”

He added: “I know the workers have exhausted every avenue available to them and that is why I am backing their decision to take industrial action.

“For every worker who will lose their job at GKN a further two will lose their jobs in the supply chain.”

Several workers made emotional speeches during the meeting describing how much GKN Driveline means to them and their families.

Robert’s family has clocked up 74 years of work at the Chester Road site with his father and grandfather working at the plant before him.

Stuart Turner said: “I’ve been at the factory near enough from school and I know what a devastating impact its closure will have on surrounding areas like Erdington and Castle Vale.

“We need to send a message that we will not back down.”

Unite West Midlands Regional Secretary Annmarie Kilbride revealed a hardship fund has already been set up in anticipation of a strike for workers who will have their wages docked.

She said: “We need the Government to step in if they are serious about levelling up and keeping skilled jobs in this country.

“I urge everyone to support these GKN workers in whatever way they can.”

The result of the ballot for industrial action will be revealed at the end of July.

To find out more about GKN Automotive visit www.gknautomotive.com
For more from Unite the Union visit www.unitetheunion.org
For more from Jack Dromey MP for Erdington visit www.jackdromey.co.uk  

NEWS: Police warn knife crime has “increased drastically” across Erdington after Dea-John murder

Words by Adam Smith / Pics by Ed King

Knife crime has “increased drastically” in Kingstanding and Erdington since the murder of schoolboy Dea-John Reid during May Bank Holiday weekend.

West Midlands Police officers are now conducting more searches of people, public places, and parks for knives – and warned young people not to carry a weapon for self-defence.

Kingstanding PCSO Meg Skelding explained in an email to local residents about the sudden spike in knife crime.

She said: “There has recently been an increase in knife crime within Kingstanding and the surrounding areas. This has increased drastically within the last month even after a young male lost his life to knife crime.

“We need to work together now more than ever to help decrease the amount of knives that are on our streets, please have a word with your young people about the dangers of carrying a knife and even more so about the effects of using a knife.”

Schoolboy Dea-John Reid, aged 14, was stabbed to death on May Bank Holiday Sunday on College Road.

Tensions ran high after his murder which also sparked a massive outpouring of grief – culminating in a vigil at the spot he died, attended by more than 1,000 people.

His funeral was held in Lozells in private last month as his family did not want the service to become a magnet for crowds.

Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, who organised the vigil and advised the Reid family, is unsurprised the police have revealed knife crime has increased.

He told Erdington Local: “I understand there have been several serious incidents since the Dea-John’s murder. I have also been told there has been an increase in racially motived crime too.”

Bishop Jaddoo had targeted Kingstanding last year as an area which needed life-saving bleed control kits installed in local shops and businesses.

He said: “Our research showed after inner city Birmingham, Kingstanding was the area where young people were in danger because of knife crime.

“So, it does not surprise me there has been an increase in knife crime because the problem was already there and the murder has made the situation worse.”

Tragically before locations were found for ten bleed control kids in the area, Dea-John was stabbed to death on College Road, a crime which shocked the entire community.

PCSO Skeldon believes the high-profile murder has led to more young people leaving their home with knives in the misguided belief they will be safer.

She added: “The majority of stabbing victims are stabbed with their own knife that they have taken out for protection.

“If you have concerns about someone or are worried that they might be being drawn into the peer pressure of carrying a knife, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.”

Specialist anti-gang officers have been operating in Erdington and Kingstanding and have succeeded taking dangerous knives off the street.

On Friday West Midlands Police’s Birmingham Organised Crime and Gangs Team tweeted: “Plain clothes officers had cause to stop and search two males on Wheelwright Road in Erdington yesterday evening.

“Both males arrested following the recovery or these awful weapons. There is no excuse! #LivesNotKnives.”

For advice and guidence from West MIdlands Police on knife crime visit www.west-midlands.police.uk/your-options/knife-crime 

To locate a Weapon Surrender Bin in your area visit www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/tackling-violence/weapon-surrender-bins 

NEWS: Stockland Green to get £432,000 anti-crime investment from Government’s Safer Streets Fund

Words by Adam Smith

CCTV and other anti-crime measures will be installed in Stockland Green after a £432,000 grant from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and Birmingham City Council applied for the money after a rise in crime in Stockland Green attributed to increased exempt housing in the area.

As well as CCTV, improved lighting, and security gates, the money will be used to clamp down on burglary, robbery, and vehicle theft.

The Government promised more funding will be available to target changing the behaviour of some men, so women and girls feel safer.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said:

“After years of essential preventative public services being starved of funding it is good to see we’ve been able to secure some additional money to make small, but not insignificant, improvements to our streets.

“We know there are simple things that can be done to prevent crime and, working with the council, we intend to use this money to do them.

“We’ll tighten security where we think it can be tighter and make sure CCTV is fitted in crime hotspots.”

Councillor John Cotton, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “This is very welcome news and will be a real boost to our efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour and support the community.

“The Council will be working closely with residents, the PCC, and the police to make sure this extra money helps to deliver a safer neighbourhood for everyone who lives or works in Stockland Green.”

Erdington MP Jack Dromey welcomed the cash injection after constituents complained about the changing nature of Stockland Green, blaming a mushrooming number of HMOs on the increase in anti-social behaviour and crime.

He said: “I have been contacted by numerous constituents who are worried, many say they do not feel safe in their local area.

“Securing almost half a million pounds from the Safer Streets Fund will help protect local communities from crime by funding the installation of additional street lighting to deter criminals and the fitting of CCTV in problem areas so we are able to catch those committing crimes to ensure they are brought to justice.”

He added: “I’d like to pay tribute to West Midlands Police, Birmingham City Council and local campaigners who have worked hard to secure this funding that will improve the lives of residents in Stockland Green.”

For the latest news from West Midlands Police visit www.west-midlands.police.uk/news

NEWS: Hundreds protest the planned closure of GKN Chester Road factory

Words by Adam Smith / Video & pics supplied by Unite the Union

On Wednesday 7 July, more than 220 people braved torrential rain to protest against the closure of GKN‘s factory on Chester Road in Erdington.

Unite the Union organised the protest in response to owners Melrose International’s announcement the sprawling plant would be closed next June with the loss of 519 jobs.

Workers have taken the first step to strike this summer and are expected to take a ballot on industrial action in the next few weeks.

Union representatives also protested outside Parliament in a bid to force the Government to back their alternative plan for the factory.

A defiant Frank Duffy, Unite Senior Rep, addressed the crowd at Sorrell Park, Pype Hayes, in the shadow of the giant factory.

He told Erdington Local: “We are not giving in. It does not make sense to close this factory, we have proved we can make a profit and we will do everything we can to stop Melrose.

“They want to throw 519 loyal, skilled and dedicated workers on the scrapheap.

“Could you imagine a French or German multinational company shutting its only home plant and moving the work to elsewhere in Europe, there would be a national outcry.”

Unite regional secretary for the West Midlands, Annmarie Kilcline, also attended the protest.

She said: “The protest demonstrated the strength of feeling among workers at GKN and the local community against the plans to close the factory.

“This is a highly viable factory which should be preparing to play a key strategic role in the move to electrify the UK’s automotive industry. Closing the factory would be an act of gross industrial vandalism.”

She added: “It is not just the workers at the factory who would be affected by the potential closure but hundreds of workers in the company’s supply chain and the local community would all  suffer job losses.

“It is essential that the government makes good on its promises to provide assistance and they work with Unite and local politicians to keep this factory open.”

Erdington MP Jack Dromey, who helped draft the alternative business proposal, backed the GKN workers.

He said: “What Melrose is doing to GKN is outrageous, I stand shoulder to shoulder with the workers in Erdington. If they decide to take industrial action then I will support them.”

Speaking at the rally, Birmingham City Council Leader Cllr Ian Ward had messages for both Melrose and the GKN workers facing unemployment.

He said: “Step in now and work with the workers at GKN to save this plant. Anything less is simply a betrayal of the hard-working, loyal & dedicated workforce.

“I assure you the city will stand with you and support you all the way in this dispute”

Despite the viability of the factory and potential massive Government backing Melrose still plan to relocate GKN operations from Chester Road to Poland.

Melrose said: “GKN Automotive has fully considered the counter proposals put forward. However, the outlook for the highly competitive automotive market remains unchanged.

“Regretfully, therefore, we are proceeding with our proposal to close the site. Supporting our people continues to be our priority.”

Unite the Union and GKN workers protest closure of Chester Road factory

To find out more about GKN Automotive visit www.gknautomotive.com

For more from Unite the Union visit www.unitetheunion.org

For more from Jack Dromey MP for Erdington visit www.jackdromey.co.uk  

NEWS: Erdington’s Kashmiri community serve up 150 hot meals from local foodbank

Words by Adam Smith / Pics & video by Simon Lefevre

On Thursday 1 July, homeless people and Erdington residents living on the breadline were given much needed hot meals by the local Kashmiri community.

The giveaway was the first community event organised by Erdington Labour Party’s new BAME officer Naz Rasheed.

Local people in need of a good hearty hot meal flocked to Six Ways Baptist Church to receive chicken and rice, cake and essentials – coinciding with the longstanding Erdington Food Bank, which opens its doors every Thursday between noon and 2pm.

Naz Rasheed told Erdington Local: “We gave away 150 meals today and plan to do the same every month. I’m part of Erdington’s Kashmiri community and we wanted to share what we do so well – creating great food – with those who need it the most.

“A lot of people helped to ensure this was a success, including my husband, and through the Labour Party we want to bring people together in our community.”

Erdington MP Jack Dromey helped distribute the meals and spoke at length with several people who explained why they were in need of emergency provisions.

He said: “It is a sad commentary on 21st Century Britain that a country like ours needs a foodbank like this.

“It was a very moving experience watching people come and receive this food, one person, who I cannot forget, told me it will be their first hot meal in three weeks. There are a lot of people who are going hungry out there.

“We had people who were homeless who really needed help and they were met with loving admiration by the Kashmiri community who I would like to pay tribute to for such an outstanding display of generosity.”

Erdington Kashmiri Labour Party member Ansar Ali Khan helped package the meals for the foodbank.

He said: “We wanted to make a small difference, and if we can do this regularly then we know we are helping those who need help the most in Erdington.”

Between April 2020 and March 2121 Erdington Foodbank handed out 22,066 ‘three day emergency’ food parcels to local residents, all made and distributed from kitchens at Six Ways Baptist Church and George Road Church (which is open Tuesdays noon until 2pm).

Reverend Gerard Goshawk, who runs Erdington Foodbank on behalf of The Trussell Trust, said: “It was great to see the people who use our foodbank being offered hot meals by the Kashmiri community.

“We are here every week and there is a real need for what we provide.”

Jack Dromey MP and Naz Rasheed at Erdington Foodbank 01.06.21

For more on Erdington Foodbank, including how to both donate and receive aid, visit www.erdington.foodbank.org.uk

NEWS: GKN Automotive confirm closure of Chester Road factory – rejecting rescue plan from Unite and Erdington MP

Words by Adam Smith

The owners of GKN Automotive in Erdington have confirmed the factory will definitely close with the loss of 519 jobs.

Melrose Industries rejected a rescue plan brokered by Unite the Union and Erdington MP Jack Dromey to save the factory.

A Melrose spokesman said: “GKN Automotive has fully considered the counter proposals put forward. However, the outlook for the highly competitive automotive market remains unchanged.

“Regretfully, therefore, we are proceeding with our proposal to close the site. Supporting our people continues to be our priority.”

Jack Dromey MP warned the Chester Road plant would be in danger when Melrose forcibly took over the firm in 2018.

As well as the 519 workers at GKN an estimated 1,500 jobs could be at risk in the supply chain of the company, which can trace its history back more than 200 years.

He said: “This decision is devastating for the 519 workers at the Chester Road plant. The workers, supported by the union, Unite, worked tirelessly to produce a comprehensive and detailed alternative plan to closure.

“It is therefore fundamentally wrong that GKN/Melrose have now called time on the consultation process and instead intend to push ahead with closure.

“GKN Chester Road is vital, not just to Erdington and the West Midlands economy but also the whole automotive industry in the UK. If the plant were to close, it would be a betrayal of the 519 workers, of British automotive, and the British national interest.”

He added: “I will therefore be seeking urgent discussions with the Chief Executive of GKN and also the Government, who have publicly indicated their commitment to offer support to allow the plant to remain open.

“The workers at GKN and their union, Unite, are determined to keep the plant open. As their MP, they have my total and unending support.”

Unite national officer for the automotive sector, Des Quinn, said: “Unite calls on all interested parties including central government, local government, the supply chain, customers and GKN Automotive to come together and ensure the factory’s future.

“The UK’s automotive sector needs e-drive suppliers and a sustainable supply chain or the entire UK automotive sector is at risk of collapse.

“GKN Birmingham has the ability to supply the e-drives that the UK’s automotive sector desperately needs, it just needs the vision, support and investment to ensure it has a crucial role to play in the electrification of UK vehicles.”

To find out more about GKN Automotive visit www.gknautomotive.com

For more from Unite the Union visit www.unitetheunion.org

For more from Jack Dromey MP for Erdington visit www.jackdromey.co.uk

Mayoral hopeful Liam Byrne MP backs GKN workers – calling proposed Chester Rd closure “unthinkable”

Words by Adam Smith / Pics supplied by the office for Liam Byrne MP

Under-threat workers from Erdington’s GKN Driveline factory held a protest outside the plant’s gates this week.

In February, Melrose Industries announced plans to close the Chester Road site with the loss of 520 jobs – but Unite the Union and local politicians are fighting to keep the factory open.

Labour’s West Midlands Mayoral candidate Liam Byrne MP joined workers on Thursday, calling the closure of GKN Driveline “unthinkable”.

He told Erdington Local: “As a region we need more facilities like GKN in Erdington, not closing them down. I wanted to come to Chester Road to show my solidarity with the workers here. If I am Mayor of the West Midlands in a month’s time, I will be behind everyone at GKN.

“I’m sure they have earmarked the land for housing. But Erdington needs industry, because if you build big housing estates without jobs they will end up being full of unemployed people.”

He added: “We need to leading the way in new green industries, just like Joe Biden is doing in America, and historic industrial infrastructure like GKN should be part of this new economy.

“If elected I will be doing everything to convince owners Melrose to keep these jobs in Erdington.

“We will find a way, a solution to keep this factory open.”

Erdington MP Jack Dromey has been working with Unite the Union to create a business plan to keep the Chester Road factory open.

He said: “These workers are outstanding at what they do and they have been thanked by losing their jobs. There are people here who have worked here for 20 years, people whose family have worked here before them. There are skilled jobs here and they should celebrated not axed.

“Melrose’s representatives said at a House of Commons select committee they would listen to alternatives to closure, and the Government have said they will support an alternative.”

He added: “Melrose need to know they cannot buy a company with 262 years of industrial history and then close down, if they think they will get away with it then they have another thing coming.”

Melrose Industries bought GKN in 2018 in a controversial hostile and promised to keep the Erdington plant open. GKN can trace its history back to the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century and has been at the forefront of engineering in the UK ever since, the Erdington site assembles automotive parts.

Frank Duffy, GKN‘s Unite convenor at the Chester Road plant, said: “We have got more than 500 workers here and we are not giving in. We are not working on the premise that the factory is closing because it makes no sense.

“We have not been given redundancy terms yet which is a good sign the factory can remain open.”

To find out more about GKN Automotive visit www.gknautomotive.com

For more from Unite the Union visit www.unitetheunion.org

For more on Liam Byrne MP visit www.liambyrne.co.uk