Major contract means jobs boost at GKN

By Richard Wright

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Major contract means jobs boost at GKN

GKN composites aerostructures vice president and general manager Jeff Armitage. Picture by Jennifer Burton.

GKN Aerospace has won another huge contract, further safeguarding the long-term future of the East Cowes factory and creating more Isle of Wight jobs.

In competition with component manufacturers worldwide, it won the multi-million pound contract for Bombardier Global 7000 and Global 8000 rudders and elevators.

First deliveries to Belfast-based Bombardier take place later this year in a contract set to run until at least 2026.

It follows the previous announcement in the spring of its biggest ever contract and is the precursor to another expected big announcement.

And it comes nearly six months after a pay and conditions settlement ended more than six months of unrest at the factory.

"This latest contract was won against very stiff worldwide competition because we were able to be competitive," said Jeff Armitage, GKN’s Composite Aerostructures vice-president and managing director.

"It is vindication of the deal our workforce agreed in which they took a pay freeze and agreed to work extra hours.

"It is fantastic for everyone involved to bring work to the Island.

"We are currently recruiting 17 support staff and we expect that to be followed by more, permanent, jobs.

"Our engineering expertise is making a vital contribution to meeting the remarkable range and emissions goals for these aircraft and this new contract win illustrates our growing relationship with Bombardier Aerospace," he added.

GKN Aerospace currently employs more than 1,400, making it the Island’s biggest industrial employer, and is part of a company which last year recorded sales of £7.5 billion worldwide.



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Displaying the last 10 of 41 comments - Show All Comments

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by Laura Smith

21st July 2014, at 14:41:48

Don't understand why you're telling me that they've always been making cuts. I'm not against them....
I'm well aware of the ins and outs of the sheet metal dept, but I was also in meetings last year explain why there were cuts and what they could achieve by making them.
There's a large majority of people at GKN who aren't as skilled as what they once had and engineers having to be brought in from other countries.
I, for one, would rather have a job than none.

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by Tony Tiltman Jnr

18th July 2014, at 19:21:07

Laura GKN has been making cuts since 1993 when they took over, to extent it lost the finest Machine Shop and Sheet metal expertise in the country all handed down from BHC and J S Whites highly skilled personnel, a skill never to be seen again. Shame on the nuts and bolts company who were all to ready to outsource the work to other less professional workforces throughout the UK and worldwide.

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by Ben Ridley

18th July 2014, at 09:55:27

May I also add that every time GKN get a contract other countries will just put in lower and lower prices for contracts because like I said labour is cheap for the reasons I have already said. Again I ask at what point does the cost cutting on the shop floor stop. I feel that we as country should be rewarding our highly skilled workforce and advertising this fact to the world that what we design, manufacture and build in this country are of the highest standards that cannot be matched by many countries around the world. For example most of formula 1 designs, components and companies are based in the Uk, and you can't say there isn't a lack of funds there.

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by Ben Ridley

18th July 2014, at 09:48:04

Laura, first of all I don't work for GKN, secondly I do have a very well paid job here on the Island because the job I do has responsibility and skills for which I have had to have significant intense training. I'm a member of a very good union who protects my t&c's and pay for the skills and professionalism I have to carry out in my everyday duties, there is no way I would be doing it without these rewards, dedication and goodwill can only go so far, can I add that this does not make me ungrateful for my job or think I'm indispensable, but I would like to see anyone do my job and think that it's not justified. Again if you have read my other post especially regarding public sector jobs, is why I will defend their perks. Most of the GKN workforce are highly skilled, and again I'm sure they feel the same way about their jobs as I do. But every time GKN cuts down on workforce t&c's and pay whilst management reap the rewards and performance related pay, we never hear of their payo

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by Laura Smith

18th July 2014, at 08:52:53

Unfortunately times changed a long time ago at GKN. Remember when it was called 'BHC' - Butlins Holiday Camp some used to joke. GKN made the recent cuts so they could compete, just because they have won a contract does not mean they'll be making more money. They won that bid with the costings they currently have, meaning they are charging less than they would've done five years ago.
Have you tried to find work else where on the Island that GKN offers? People are leaving Gurit to work at GKN so it must have an attraction!
Mr Armitage could have turned his back on this and let it shut down, what would you prefer? This situation or no job at all?

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by Ben Ridley

16th July 2014, at 12:58:02

Laura..How can we compete with nations with no labour laws and where live is cheap...How far are we as workers prepared to give up our rights

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by Laura Smith

16th July 2014, at 12:42:45

Ben, I have been employed by GKN in my working life so I know the set up. Yes people fought for some of the benefits you currently receive but it doesn't mean GKN can't change things like sick pay.

Unfortunately, whilst employed there I witnessed people relying on overtime, whether that overtime was required or not, a lot of people took advantage and probably still do.

In one of the work force presentations it was explained why they had to make changes to the work structure. The fact GKN bids were not being considered due to cheaper alternatives from other countries.

So they've won a contract, doesn't mean wages or the overtime rate should go up. They've got the contract through costing it in the current situation.

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by Ben Ridley

16th July 2014, at 11:37:22

Absouloutly Don, let's hope the wealth gets shared evenly

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by Don Prescott

16th July 2014, at 07:26:52

O@Tony & Ben , fair comments and lets just be glad for GKN.
Its good to have a positive story to comment on.

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by Steve Smith

16th July 2014, at 05:55:46

Mike didn't have the answers to keep his business afloat so I ask again, what makes him think he has the answers today?

Oh yes I forgot Mike never answers a question does he! What's that? speakers to high?

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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