560 jobs axed as engineering firm GKN shuts plants

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The Independent Online

More than 560 jobs are to be lost at manufacturing giant GKN which will close three factories, the company announced today.

Around 470 jobs will go at automotive plants in the Midlands and a further 90 at aerospace sites in Luton and Burnley, which will shut.



The company said its Hamstead forge facility in Birmingham will close by the end of the year and a car parts factory in Walsall will shut by the middle of 2010, with a further 150 jobs being lost at an automotive plant in Telford this year.









GKN Automotive chief executive Nigel Stein said: "The actions being announced today are regrettable but absolutely necessary to respond to the global economic downturn that is particularly affecting the automotive industry.

"We are in unprecedented times and we must protect our position as a leading global automotive supplier and ensure we are in a strong position to meet our customers' needs now and when markets recover."



GKN, which has a global workforce of around 42,000, announced last month that it had cut 2,800 jobs worldwide, including almost 250 in the UK, since October.



The company warned at the time that, because of continuing deterioration in the global automotive markets, further redundancies were likely and plant closures a possibility.









The company announced that it was consolidating its UK driveline components operations into a single site at Erdington in Birmingham.

The move secured the long-term sustainability of the driveline component manufacturing in the UK at a "difficult time" and ensured a competitive supply of car parts to customers.



GKN added that it will invest £7m over the next three years upgrading the plant at Erdington, which will create jobs.



GMB union official Joe Morgan said: "We think GKN might be using the credit crunch to downsize and export more jobs. We will challenge these latest cuts at every stage possible to make sure they are genuine."

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