GKN workers reject deal

By Richard Wright

Friday, February 14, 2014


SHOPFLOOR workers on the Isle of Wight are understood to have voted down a union recommendation and overwhelmingly rejected an improved offer from GKN.

They were balloted by their union, Unite, on an improved terms and conditions package hammered-out with management at eleventh hour talks which averted the threat of industrial action.

The union recommended workers accept the new package, which is understood to have added two hours to the working week, but largely preserved overtime and shift premiums.

A very clear majority of staff are understood to have rejected the offer, although exact figures were not available.

Throughout negotiations GKN said it needed to make savings to secure new multi-million pound contracts were carried out at East Cowes in a climate of increasing worldwide competition.

At one stage GKN told its workers: "We believe not securing these programmes for Cowes would be a disastrous decision for the long-term security of all employees. Failure to get this work here would inevitably lead to reshaping the Cowes operation, which would not be in the long-term interests of the business, employees or the local community."

Hundreds of redundancies were predicted if GKN sent work elsewhere.

But workers complained of "bullying" tactics by the company.

One worker, who did not wish to be named, said: "It is the company which has soured previously good industrial relations and the vote was a reflection of how they have gone about things."

But another said: "I fear GKN will now run the workforce down over time and close — all for the sake of a couple extra hours and a little reduction on the shift rate."

The industrial row has rumbled on since July when GKN first tried to impose new terms and conditions.

It is understood that a joint statement will be issued by Unite and GKN outlining how both will react to the result.

Reporter: richardw@iwcpmail.co.uk


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Displaying the last 10 of 172 comments - Show All Comments

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by Tony Tiltman Jnr

18th February 2014, at 21:18:40

Any sign of the joint statement yet ?

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by Ben Ridley

18th February 2014, at 09:38:15


I don't think I did fudge my answer
If your a good boss it would never get to that point of bad feeling between employer and employee, if it does something has broken down somewhere along the line, .
I'm hoping that would be with the case with me, that I would be a good boss, but unfortunately bad bosses are out there and will abuse the system

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by Tony Tiltman Jnr

18th February 2014, at 09:34:44


"Strange behaviour and helps no one."

And back to you.

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by Tony Tiltman Jnr

18th February 2014, at 09:30:09

I do apologize David, and thank you for your misguided input but to be fair you did have two us to keep up with, fair play fella.

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by david wright

18th February 2014, at 09:28:15

My last word on this matter is I have tried to address the issues, you have seemed to want to direct your comments at me and my motives.

Strange behaviour and helps no one.

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by david wright

18th February 2014, at 09:24:04

Pot kettle black? Please show me where I said you were being vindictive??

Read my post is says;
'that the big bad company are being vindictive.'

Perhaps the lack of a comma made you read it differently but come on stop trying to put words into my text i never wrote

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by david wright

18th February 2014, at 09:20:54

You did fudge you answer a little on what YOU would DO faced with a workforce refusing to compromise?

Saying if they choose to leave or if my company failed are not actions on your part and if you are in business you have to act you cannot wait to see what others will do.

So would you lay the workers off if they refused to compromise? Would you not be just a little cross that they did not see you were making best effort on their part to secure their future?

Anyhow either way I am getting embarrassed at my monopolising of this thread so this is my last comment.

The Union were asked to negotiate a deal on the workforces behalf and recommended what they achieved.

The workforce as is their right for whatever reason rejected the offer.

In my opinion that may have been a mistake.

I wish the GKN staff good luck with their renegotiation and hope the dispute is settled amicably.

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by Tony Tiltman Jnr

18th February 2014, at 09:19:17

You should then read your own post carefully before pushing that submit comment button then all would be clear to you. I know my grammar and keyboard skills leave much to be desired.
Your comment about me being vindictive is of course your opinion which i take offence to, believe me i have had the experience.

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by david wright

18th February 2014, at 09:07:18

I really should be offended you keep questioning if my remarks are genuine or not? Why do you keep doing this?I do not question you in this way please respect my right to my view without implying I am somehow being disingenuous.

My comment referring to past glories is about company glory days not Unions.A companies past success is not relavant to a companies future. If you want proof try and find a Betamax Video manufacturer or reel to reel tape factory.

My point is there is no harm in trying to have a realistic overview of the economy and not just insisting like you that the big bad company are being vindictive.

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by Ben Ridley

18th February 2014, at 08:34:02


If you have treated your workforce fairly then hopefully they would understand , plus like I said if they see you going through the hard times with you they will stick by you.
On saying that if they couldn't afford to stay working for me and looked to leave I would fully understand. If my business went under I certainly would not be blaming my workforce ( unless they were being totally unreasonable ) and would take it on the chin as a learning curve and I knew the risks, and hopefully if I start up again people would be looking to come back and work for me " you can't do enough for a good boss". Also I would be looking at keeping my integrity!
But we are talking about GKN, a multi national very profitable company, can they not make a little less profit?and one as Tony has said has previous on its treatment of its staff. Ok I don't know fully the in and outs but there is no smoke without fire and quiet possibly there is a genuine grievance.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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