Honda confirms Swindon closure plans

19 February 2019, 08:42 | Updated: 19 February 2019, 09:36

Entrance to Honda plant in Swindon

Honda has confirmed plans to close it's plant in Swindon, affecting 3,500 jobs.

Here's the official statement:

Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) has today informed associates (employees) of the proposal to close its Swindon vehicle manufacturing plant, at the end of the current model’s production lifecycle, in 2021. The plant currently produces 150,000 cars per year, and employs circa 3,500 associates.

This proposal comes as Honda accelerates its commitment to electrified cars, in response to the unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry. The significant challenges of electrification will see Honda revise its global manufacturing operations, and focus activity in regions where it expects to have high production volumes.

Under this proposed restructure, HUM’s current role as a global manufacturing hub may no longer be viable.

Consultation activity will begin today, and HUM will be working closely with its workforce, including the recognised trade union, Unite the Union, over the months ahead.

Katsushi Inoue, Chief Officer for European Regional Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd., and President, Honda Motor Europe said; “In light of the unprecedented changes that are affecting our industry, it is vital that we accelerate our electrification strategy and restructure our global operations accordingly. As a result, we have had to take this difficult decision to consult our workforce on how we might prepare our manufacturing network for the future. This has not been taken lightly and we deeply regret how unsettling today’s announcement will be for our people.”

HUM Director, Jason Smith, said; “We understand the impact this proposal will have on our associates, wider supplier base and the local community. We are committed to supporting associates to help them through this difficult time.”

The Unite union, says it believes that the Honda plant in Swindon has a viable future and will campaign strongly to save the 3,500 jobs currently under threat.

Unite said that it will be entering into meaningful consultations with the Honda management to examine the business case for the factory’s future, following the confirmation today by the company that the site will close in 2021.
Honda said it wanted to accelerate ‘its commitment to electrified cars, in response to the unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry’.
Unite national officer for the automotive sector Des Quinn said: “We acknowledge the global challenges that Honda has outlined in its statement, but we don’t accept that this plant, with its highly skilled and dedicated workforce, does not have a viable future.
“We are now entering a period of meaningful consultations with the management to examine in detail the business case put forward by the company.
“We will leave no stone unturned to keep this plant going and its workforce in employment.
“While Brexit is not mentioned by the company as a reason for the announcement, we believe that the uncertainty that the Tory government has created by its inept and rigid handling of the Brexit negotiations lurks in the background.
“If the government had delivered a strong and stable Brexit that protected the economy and jobs, we may well have been in a very different position today.
“We have met the company this morning and will be meeting representatives of the workforce at what is an extremely worrying time for our members and their families.
“The impact of any closure on the Wiltshire economy and more widely throughout the UK supply chain can’t be underestimated – it would be devastating. That’s why Unite will be making every effort to avoid that catastrophic outcome.”