The shock news that 500 jobs will be lost at Honda, Swindon is a devastating blow to UK manufacturing said Britain’s largest union, Unite as it pledged to do everything in its power to save jobs.
The move will see 340 permanent and 160 agency jobs cut and production at the plant go down to one line with two shifts as the car manufacturer blamed poor economic performance across the UK and the Eurozone for the constant drag on sales.
With the union predicting that the wider job losses could be four times the 500 figure as jobs go in the associated component and retails sectors, Unite is calling for urgent talks with the manufacturer - and for the government to step in to ensure that the skills of the workforce are not lost to the industry.
Tony Murphy, Unite national officer for car manufacturing said: “There is no getting away from it, 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. That is something which must give the government serious cause for concern.
"Decent, skilled jobs are being lost today and investment is being withdrawn. We cannot allow workers of this expertise to be dispatched to the dole queue - the country needs their skills if we are to power our country back to economic health.
"Unite is determined to do all we can to save these jobs and skills. It is vital that national government joins us in the fight for manufacturing. I appeal to Vincent Cable today to work with us to find ways of persuading Honda to think again on jobs and investment into this country."
For more information contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315.
Twitter: @unitetheunion, Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes for editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.