Honda confirmation of Swindon factory closure 'a body blow to the town'

By Ben Fitzgerald - 14 May 2019

BusinessCommunity

Honda’s confirmation that it will close its Swindon manufacturing plant in 2021 - with 3,500 workers being made redundant has been met with anger by Union officials.

The Japanese manufacturer made the decision after a three month consultation produced ‘no viable alternatives’.

Unite national officer Des Quinn said Honda had rejected Unite's alternative plan which would have kept the plant open and protected an estimated 15,000 direct Honda employees and workers in the supply chain.

"We have this body blow which is nothing short of a betrayal of the workforce, customers and the wider supply chain which relies on Honda Swindon for work. Unite can only conclude that Honda is taking a strategic decision to retreat out of Europe in favour of protecting its North American operations and avoiding president Trump's tariff threat on cars made in Europe.”

Honda UK director Jason Smith said: "We understand the impact this decision has on our associates, suppliers and the wider community. We are committed to continuing to support them throughout the next phases of the consultation process."

Reacting to the latest announcement, Paddy Bradley Director of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP), said: "As part of the Government-led Honda Task Force, we have been working hard to persuade Honda to stay but following a consultation process, the company has made the decision to proceed with its plans to leave Swindon.

Since Honda’s announcement in February, the Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) has been working closely alongside Government, Swindon Borough Council and local partners to help deliver a plan of support for employees and businesses in the area.

Swindon has a growing, vibrant economy and we are committed to working with local businesses, partners and Government to ensure the economic shock of this announcement is minimised. Honda’s South Marston site is perfectly suited to an advanced engineering manufacturing plant, providing high value jobs. Honda’s workforce is well trained, highly qualified and will be a skilled workforce in high demand.”  

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