‘Meaningful’ consultation fails to prevent Honda factory closure

Time 5:45 pm, May 13, 2019

CAR giant Honda has confirmed plans to close its UK factory in 2021, with the loss of thousands of jobs.

The Japanese company told workers at the Swindon factory that following a ‘meaningful and robust’ consultation, no viable alternatives to the closure have been found.

The plant, which employs 3,500 workers, will close at the end of the current model’s production lifecycle, in 2021.

Honda said a number of organisations and groups took part in the consultation, including the government and external consultants engaged by the Unite union.

A statement said: ‘The decision to close the plant is part of Honda’s broader global strategy in response to changes to the automotive industry.

‘As previously communicated in February, Honda is accelerating its electrification plans, and as a result resources, capabilities and production systems for electrified vehicles will be focused in regions with a high volume of customer demand.’

Best efforts

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘Clearly this is a disappointing decision despite the best efforts of local MPs, civic and business leaders and the trade unions since Honda’s initial announcement in February.

‘We recognise this is a worrying time for affected employees, their families and businesses (which are) part of the supply chain.’

The company will now move to discuss redundancy packages and look at the impact on individual roles up until production ends.

Honda director Jason Smith said: ‘It is with a heavy heart that today we confirm the closure of Honda’s factory in Swindon. 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.’

Unite national officer Des Quinn said: ‘We await the detailed reasons from Honda, but Unite believes that our alternative case to keep Honda Swindon open added up and was likely to be backed by the Government with public money.

‘It would have made Honda a global leader in emerging battery technology and in a strong position to exploit the growing global market for electric vehicles in the coming years.

‘Instead 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. Unite will be consulting with its members on our next steps in the coming days.’

MORE: Honda to cut hundreds of temporary jobs

MORE: Honda to close Swindon plant

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