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Swindon: 1,100 Honda job losses
Defend every job
Domenico Hill, South West Shop Stewards Network
Workers at the Honda car plant in Swindon were shocked when the company announced 800 job losses on 10 January. This figure was widely reported in all the news channels and newspapers.
But I spoke to a worker at Honda who told me that the number of jobs due to be cut is in fact 1,100, divided equally between production line workers, administration staff, and workers on temporary contracts. This amounts to almost a third of the workforce.
Only last September the company announced that they were investing an extra £267 million in the Swindon plant and planning to increase the production of the new Civic from 183,000 a year in 2012 to 250,000 within three years.
A company spokesperson was quoted then as saying: "Sales in the UK are up 10%, so we are in a strong position. Europe is not quite so good, but is holding up".
In reality there has been a dramatic drop in sales of vehicles in Europe due to the recession, down from 17 million to 12 million.
In Southern Europe, where Honda have concentrated their efforts, the decline has been even more drastic.
The Unite union branch is meeting shortly to draw up a campaign against the job cuts. Stewards have already informed management that if the threatened redundancies aren't lifted, the workforce will be balloted for industrial action. In the meantime, 'normal' relations are suspended.
The National Shop Stewards Network and the Socialist Party have already given full support to the workforce in any action they decide to take to defend all jobs at Honda.