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UNITE launched a campaign today to save Honda’s car plant in Swindon after the company confirmed it will close with the loss of 3,500 jobs.
The union insisted the factory “has a viable future” and will “campaign strongly” to save the jobs.
Honda confirmed it is to transfer the work to the company’s base in Japan in 2021.
A statement said: “This proposal comes as Honda accelerates its commitment to electrified cars, in response to the unprecedented changes in the global automotive industry.”
Honda did not mention Brexit as a reason for its decision to close the plant.
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.”
Honda’s announcement is just the latest hammer blow to Britain’s automotive industry.
Jaguar Land Rover is to transfer production of its Discovery model to Slovakia this year and Toyota has also warned that a “no deal” Brexit will threaten production at its plants.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said: “This government has failed to create an environment of business confidence.
“The Tories’ austerity programme has failed workers and businesses, and they continue to show a total lack of vision or plans for investment in our future.
“Businesses have lost faith.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said it was a “devastating blow” for workers and British manufacturing.
She demanded Honda sit down urgently with Unite to discuss a way forward for the plant.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “I will convene a taskforce in Swindon with local MPs, civic and business leaders as well as trade union representatives to ensure that the skills and expertise of the workforce is retained, and these highly valued employees move into new skilled employment.”
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