On 9 July 2021, Melrose Industries announced the closure of its GKN Driveline factory producing car axles in Florence, Italy and the layoff of all workers — more than 400 in total. In response, the workers formed the GKN Factory Collective and occupied their factory with the plan to shift production to cargo bikes and solar panels, sealing an alliance with the climate justice movement.
This strategy engendered a cycle of broad mobilisations – repeatedly bringing tens of thousands to the streets – so that the dispute is still open, and the permanent sit-in at the factory remains until today.
The workers were meant to be finally dismissed on 1 January 2024, turning new year’s eve into a final call to action to defend their factory conversion plan. At the last minute, the Italian labour court ruled against the layoffs a second time – so the dispute is still live.
The GKN workers plan is a key example of a worker-led ecological transition – one which could set the way forward for workers across Europe.
But the project needs material solidarity now.
Over €600,000 has been collected through a popular shareholding campaign to launch the co-operative, but they need our support and solidarity to reach the final goal of €1,000,000.
The Trade Union Caucus of the Climate Justice Coalition has launched a fundraiser for individuals, trade union branches and other organisations to support the popular shareholding campaign.