The following is a letter from Ken Loach to the ex-GKN workers ahead of the Festival of Working Class Literature in April 2024.

Dear Friends and Comrades.

I am sorry not to join you at the Festival but it is a real privilege to send a message of support for the extraordinary initiative that the GKN workers have taken.

This project shows very clearly that workers have the talent, imagination and determination to plan the production of goods that we need and which will serve us for many years in the future. They understand the need to protect the environment, both in the manufacture of the goods and how they will be used.

Workers in all grades, from the simplest manual jobs to the planners and managers will all have secure employment with proper wages and conditions that allow everyone to live lives of dignity and security. This is something that big business and corporate employers will never provide. Their success depends on extracting profit from the labour of others. That creates gross inequality, great wealth for a few and poverty wages for many. The GKN project demonstrates that the exploiters need us, but we don’t need them.

The GKN project is ground breaking in many ways. Workers linking directly with academic research for the common good. This challenges the existing model of research. The knowledge should be ours to share, to benefit us all not bought by the profiteers.

Again, establishing a workers cooperative means there is a serious organisation supported by the community as a whole to make this exciting project a reality.

We march behind the banners of solidarity and unity. You are entitled to demand this becomes a reality. You are entitled to active and practical support from progressive unions and political parties both in Italy and internationally. You are setting an example that we all need to follow. I hope those links are being established and others recognise the seriousness and importance of what you are doing.

With warmest good wishes to hold on to your principles and to stay as strong as you are now.

Yours in solidarity,

Ken Loach