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Hostile takeover plans for GKN — Unite union fears for Isle of Wight employees

Unite the Union has raised fears for GKN's Isle of Wight employees as investment company Melrose makes plans for a hostile takeover of the company.

Unite the Union has raised fears for GKN's Isle of Wight employees as investment company Melrose makes plans for a hostile takeover of the company.

James Woolven

[email protected]

Sunday, February 11, 2018 - 9:31

UNITE the Union has warned of the impact on the Isle of Wight of a "cowboy capitalist" takeover of GKN by investment company Melrose.

Unite, which announced on Wednesday that bankers, lawyers and financiers would pocket a massive £140m in the GKN takeover, is calling on the government's business secretary Greg Clark to block the hostile takeover bid.

Unite also raised fears the deal could damage the government's industrial strategy and national defence interests.

Under the Enterprise Act, the secretary of state can intervene in mergers when they give rise to certain specified public interest concerns, including issues of national security.

GKN, which employs around 58,000 people worldwide, including hundreds on the Island, supplies and maintains UK defence equipment.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: "Melrose's bid, which is based on borrowing vast amounts of cash to bung to shareholders, will see GKN saddled with £1.3 billion of debt in a move harking back to the 'cowboy capitalist' takeovers of the 1980s.

"We fear this hostile takeover could ultimately harm jobs and communities like the Isle of Wight who rely on GKN as a source for decent secure employment."

Island Labour parliamentary spokesperson, Julian Critchley, said: "We're concerned for the future of Island workers who would be affected by this deal.

"Previous takeovers of this sort have been motivated solely by the greed of City bankers seeking bonuses for themselves, while the future of the company and welfare of its workers and pensioners are rarely a consideration.

"We need the government to step in and prevent GKN being cannibalised by Melrose.

"As a country, we've already lost far too much of our manufacturing base, and quality jobs like those at GKN are too few and far between, especially on the Island."

 


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