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Upto 500 jobs under threat in Swindon

Car maker Honda has announced that it's scaling back production at its Swindon plant with the loss of up to five hundred jobs - 340 employees and a further 160 agency workers.

The company, which employs three thousand people in the town, is cutting the number of shifts from three to two. It blames a slump in European sales. The Unite union says staff are bewildered and angry - Robert Murphy takes up the story.

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Slump in European sales blamed for Swindon job losses

Honda's senior vice president, Ian Howells, blames a slump in sales in Europe for the decision to scale back production at the Swindon car plant, with the loss of 340 jobs.

He told our political correspondent Bob Constantine that he expected the downturn to last for "one or two years", but denied that Honda had been too optimistic about the market in the past:

Honda hasn't "seen growth that was anticipated"

Honda have released this statement with regards to 300 jobs potentially being lost at their Swindon plant:

Over the last 12 months, we haven’t seen the growth we’d anticipated. With no increase forecasted for the next couple of years, we must scale our manufacturing activity accordingly. However, with the restructuring we’re taking today, and our new model plans, we remain confident in the long-term future of our Swindon plant. Our Swindon operation continues to be the hub for our European car manufacturing activity."

– Ian Howells, Senior Vice President of Honda Motor Europe

Swindon Honda plant to cut around 500 jobs

Around 500 jobs are under threat as the Honda plant in Swindon are to cut productions.

340 Honda jobs and 160 agency staff could potentially lose their jobs at the Wiltshire based plant.

Most cars built at the Wiltshire based plant are exported and sales in other countries have not been as strong as in the UK.

Honda say it will enter into consultation on the proposal.

As well as moving to two shifts, production will be consolidated on to one line, to "improve production, flexibility and efficiency" while production volumes continue at the current level.

The car manufacturer has been in Swindon since 1992.

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Bad news for Honda employees

Employees at the huge Honda car factory in Wiltshire have been left reeling today following the announcement that 800 of them are to lose their jobs within the next few weeks. The Japanese company currently employs 3,500 people at its plant at Swindon. Nearly a quarter are to be made redundant.

The company blames a slump in demand for cars across Europe, and says it remains fully committed to long term operations in Britain. The loss of so many jobs will have a major impact on Swindon's economy. Our correspondent Robert Murphy has more.

His report includes interviews with Business Secretary Vince Cable, Kim Ballamy from Honda, Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson, Jim d'Avila from Unite Union and local businessman Peter Richardson.

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