Live updates

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:


340 jobs under threat at Swindon's Honda factory

Japanese car giant Honda is to cut production at its UK factory in Swindon from three shifts to two, threatening 340 jobs.

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

Over the last 12 months, we haven't seen the growth we'd anticipated. With no increase forecast 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 said it will enter into consultation on a proposal to reduce the workforce by 340 production employees.

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.

These job losses are a devastating blow, not just for these workers but for the thousands more across the industry whose work is dependent on the Honda plant.

Today's losses are also a wake-up call to the UK government. The economy is far too fragile to proclaim a recovery - those workers losing their jobs today will find claims that the country is turning a corner an insult.

The truth is that there is simply no pick up in the incomes of Honda's customers, either here or in the eurozone. People are not confident and do not have the cash to spend.

– Tony Murphy, Unite union

Honda suspends production in Swindon

Bad weather had held up parts for Honda carts Credit: ITV News West Country

Honda has suspended production at its Swindon plant due to the bad weather. A container ship delivering parts has been delayed on its route to the UK. It's hoped work will resume on Friday.

The firm says the stoppage will not affect customer orders as the factory will make up the lost time next week.

Honda reaches target of cutting hundreds of jobs at Swindon factory

Honda assembly plant in Swindon Credit: PA

Car maker Honda has reached a target of cutting hundreds of jobs at their Swindon factory.

The company says it's been able to do this mainly through voluntary redundancy. Managers announced 800 job losses at the South Marston plant in January after poor sales in Europe.

The Unite Union said the reduction in compulsory redundancies was a great achievement.


Government says job losses at Honda are a 'bitter blow'

This will be a bitter blow to the workforce and the local area and we will be working with local partners to minimise the impact of the job losses. Times are tough in the European market but the automotive industry remains a major success story for the UK. Over the last two years global manufacturers including Nissan, JLR and BMW have invested 6 billion in the UK safeguarding and creating new jobs.”

– Spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Council leader reacts to Honda job losses

Swindon Borough Council leader Roderick Bluh has issued a statement reacting to the job losses at Honda.

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.

– Cllr Roderick Bluh
Load more updates