Honda is to make around 90 people redundant at its Swindon plant. It was thought 800 posts would go but hundreds of staff have volunteered to leave. The company blames falling sales across Europe for the cuts.
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.
VIDEO: Our political correspondent Phil Hornby speaks to Honda executive Ken Keir about the announcement to cut 800 jobs from Swindon's car manufacturing facility.
The Unite union has called Honda's decision to cut 800 jobs at its Swindon plant a 'hammer blow' to UK manufacturing and the local economy.
Unite national officer Tony Murphy said: "It's a tragedy for our members and their families.
"There's no doubt these cuts will have a significant knock-on impact on the supply chain, and on local shops and services .
"That is why we intend to save as many jobs as possible.
"Unite will oppose any compulsory job losses. We expect Honda to negotiate meaningfully with the union in order to mitigate the impact of these cuts.
"Unite will be meeting with our local union reps in the coming days to discuss the company's proposals."
– Cllr Roderick Bluh, Leader of Swindon Borough Council
Honda is one of our biggest and most valued employers in Swindon so we are naturally disappointed the company has had to take this difficult decision.
This announcement will affect many people and families throughout Swindon and we will be working with Honda, and our partners, to provide as much support as possible to those employees who are affected by these job losses."
The Japanese car firm Honda is to cut 800 jobs at its UK plant in Swindon after a slump in demand for its vehicles in Europe.
The factory employs 3,500 people. Workers were told about the cuts when they arrived for their shifts this morning.
A 90-day consultation period is underway. Honda has siad it is trying to avoid compulsory redundancies.
The multinational has been making cars in the UK since 1992, and has never had job cuts here before. The firm said demand had fallen by a million across Europe.
"Sustained conditions of low demand in European markets make it necessary to re-align Honda's business structure. As such, Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) will enter into forma consultation with its associates to consider these changes and the proposal that it will reduce the workforce by 800 associates by spring 2013.
– Ken Keir, Executive Vice President, Honda Motor Europe
"Honda remains fully committed for the long term to its UK and European manufacturing operations. However, these conditions of sustained low industry demand require us to take difficult decisions. We are setting the business constitution at the right level to ensure long-term stability and security."
Honda has confirmed it will cut 800 jobs at its Swindon factory after a slump in demand across Europe.
The Business Secretary Vince Cable has been visiting Swindon's Honda plant today to find out how they're bucking the trend in the motor industry.
The site has recently recruited 500 new staff and is introducing a new model of car.
European CR-V is part of a £257 million investment programme. Robert Murphy reports
Robert Murphy spoke to the Director of Honda UK Kim Bellamy, the Business Secretary Vince Cable MP, Scott Salmon and Simon Hinchley both of whom work at the plant.
The Business Secretary Vince Cable is visiting Honda's Swindon plant where 500 new staff have already been recruited to produce a range of new models. The car manufacturer is also investing a further 267 million pounds at the site. From Swindon, Robert Murphy reports.
Robert Murphy spoke to Kim Ballamy, a Director of Honda UK.
An extra shift was introduced at the UK factory of car giant Honda today, where hundreds more jobs have been created. The 500 new employees take the total number of workers at the Swindon plant to 3,500.
The Japanese firm said the second shift coincided with growing demand for its new Civic hatchback models. Production at the Wiltshire plant is forecast to double to 180,000 this year.
Speaking in December, Honda Motor Europe president Manabu Nishimae said Honda remained totally committed to building cars and engines in Europe, with Swindon at the heart of its European manufacturing activities.