Major contract for GKN

By a County Press reporter

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Major contract for GKN

Vince Cable inspects one of the Boeing 737MAX winglets to be produced by GKN on the Isle of Wight. Picture courtesy of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

GKN has announced a multi-million pound order which secures Isle of Wight jobs today (Tuesday).

The company said the huge contract, awarded by Boeing, showed it could successfully compete in a global marketplace on price and quality.

GKN has been subject to months of industrial unrest after management tried to impose new terms and conditions on East Cowes workers.

In a joint announcement Boeing, GKN and business secretary Vince Cable revealed GKN had been selected to manufacture sets of drag-reducing winglets for the 737 MAX aircraft, which has more than 1,600 orders from airlines around the world.

They will be made at East Cowes with final assembly at GKN’s facility in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Although the company declined to comment on the exact of the contract, it is understood to be worth several million pounds.

GKN chief executive Marcus Bryson said: "This contract was bid on an assumed future cost base — and demonstrates that we can win work in a global competitive marketplace and secure employment on the Isle of Wight.

"We announced our first winglet contracts for Boeing aircraft in 2007 and this award reflects the on-going success of our growing relationship.

"It also draws on our expertise in the efficient manufacture of complex composite and metallic wing structures and makes full use of our ability to assemble this advanced structure.

"We are extremely proud to be part of the team that is producing this unique winglet and to be involved with Boeing in creating this extremely efficient next-generation airframe."

The single-aisle 737 MAX aircraft is scheduled to make its first flight in 2016 with deliveries to customers beginning in 2017. GKN will deliver the first developmental winglet sets to Boeing in 2015.

UK business minister Michael Fallon said: "This significant deal creates and secures hundreds of high skilled, long-term engineering jobs on the Isle of Wight and across GKN's domestic supply chain."


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by Mat Thomas

5th December 2013, at 12:34:23

If the intention is to renovate the productive forces then either constructive dismissal or compulsory redundancy should not be the option. It is an affront to experienced and highly skilled workers as well as semi-skilled workers. For many years workers have worked through thick and thin to enhance their skills and gain practical skills only to be discarded when management want to make changes.
When the requirement is to revolutionise the means of production, bring in new techniques and technology and machinery or change the working environment management should not resort to chaos.Workers have their dignity and there is a dignity of labour.

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by Mike Crowe

3rd December 2013, at 16:53:51

I sometimes wonder.

Then I remember ........ Isle of Wight ............


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by Jake Wallace

3rd December 2013, at 16:14:37

Steve - lol whats that as "Time Flies" ..ho ho ho pun intended

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by Steve Smith

3rd December 2013, at 16:12:26

woooosh! that's the noise just going over Mike's head

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by Mike Crowe

3rd December 2013, at 15:49:18

GKN are in the correct order for the initials of the original company they were abbreviated from Guest Keen and Nettlefolds

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by Jake Wallace

3rd December 2013, at 13:15:57

I knew this would be a focal point of comments to come on this story, GKN can not install illegal work conditions .. this isn't the 18th century you know.

Maybe the conditions being put forward at the east cowes plant are what made it possible for GKN being awarding the contract in the first place. Securing furture investement i think would be top of GKN books, not keeping the well paid families topped up with PS4's, new cars & luxery holidays eh.

Good work GKN for securing their place in a competitive worldwide industry, no boo-ing & sulking for an extra hour here or there.

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by Mat Thomas

3rd December 2013, at 12:41:28

The contract at GKN to manufacture sets of drag-reducing winglets is indeed welcome in Cowes but let us remember that this “announcement” is being made amidst a dispute between the company and its workforce. Let us all recognise too that there is no transparency regarding the state of the dispute and its effect on the island. We hoped that the company would come clean regarding the books being opened at the company as its position and sustainability affect the entire island.

The fact that the contract is worth several million should not be exaggerated as adequate to guarantee security of island production. We hope that the announcement is not being used as a bargaining chip to coerce the unions to accept the conditions and refrain from acting to secure its cause.

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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