Honda to close UK plants for four months

Honda is closing its UK production plants from today. The move will affect just over 3,000 of the 4,000 employees, who will receive their full basic pay for the first two months, but around 60% thereafter.

The shutdown is at its Swindon base and is considered to be one of the longest in Britain’s recent industrial history and comes despite business secretary Lord Mandelson’s £2.3bn package of government support for the UK car industry.

The move is in response to the downturn in the UK car market. On Friday the Japanese car company said global third quarter net profit had dropped 89%.

Honda says there are no plans for redundancies and that it intends to “safeguard employment” for workers who want to stay at the company, however over 1,000 staff have signed up for a voluntary severance package and some have already left the business.

When staff return on 1 June, they will be making fewer vehicles as production, which was at around 240,000 vehicles a year, will resume at half that level.

Honda employs 4,200 people in the UK and exports the Civic to 60 countries worldwide. It has also cut 3,100 temporary jobs in Japan and reduced global production by 56,000 vehicles.

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