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Swindon Dismayed At Honda Production Cut Proposal

| 25 Jul 2014 | No Comments

Japanese automobile major Honda has caused a wave of dismay in the auto industry circuit here in the UK. It plans to cut down production at its manufacturing plant located in Swindon. 500 jobs are facing threat.

Lesser Jobs In The Offing

Honda’s Swindon factory had to brave some really bad news last week. The car maker has reduction in production capacity on mind; and the workers have been informed about the consequent cutback in jobs.

Around 500 jobs at the Swindon plant may be lost; Honda’s car plant number two will soon be closing down causing a loss of 340 jobs. Moreover, there are 160 employees positioned temporarily, and they will have to go.

The employee union officials expressed that this cut in jobs will be felt quite deeply.

The Swindon Site To Face Scale-Down

The Japan-based auto manufacturer inaugurated its site in Swindon more than two decades ago, in 1992. Honda was in news last year itself for making 554 voluntary and 38 compulsory redundancies.

The representative from Honda and its Senior VP, Ian Howells, grimly stated that anticipated growth hasn’t happened for their company throughout 2013. He added that employment cuts are a consequence of the company board’s decision to run production in two shifts a day instead of the ongoing practice of three shifts daily.

The Senior Vice President, in a press statement, blamed the sluggish growth in Europe for these job cuts.

Honda Produces More Than Required

Ian Howells also stated that since there is no forecast of increase in demand for cars across Europe for the coming few years, the Honda management decided to scale down their manufacturing activity.

He added that looking closely at alternatives hasn’t helped Honda much. The company is, in fact, faced with a market which is growing very slowly and that Honda is manufacturing just too many cars for that demand.

Howells further assured that the decision to scale down has been a difficult one to make even for Honda; however, an inevitable one. He said that Honda will first begin with a voluntary release programme. In case the cutback programme does not progress the way it should, Honda might consider imposing compulsory redundancies.

Howells, Senior VP, Honda Motor Europe, explained that 340 permanent employees will leave over the next three months. The 160 temporary staff members, phased to be released by end of 2014, will also go.

Union Saddened With The Decision

Jim D'Avila, the Unite union spokesperson, stated bleakly that Honda’s decision has been a major blow for them and a very sad piece of news that has been felt quite deeply.

He explained that dealing with a few compulsory redundancies declared by Honda around 18 months ago was rather manageable. However, this time around, the scenario seems to be more dismal.

In addition to cutting down on shifts, D’Avila said, Honda also plans to shift production to a single line so as to “enhance manufacturing flexibility and efficiency”.

The Honda representatives confirmed that the management will soon enter a phase of consultation on the proposed cut in jobs.


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