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.
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
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.