Swindon’s MPs today pledged to do all they can to help Honda workers affected by the latest job cuts and to act to ensure the car giant remains committed to the town.
Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, said he had spoken to Prime Minister David Cameron about the Honda job losses and had also sought assurances from the car maker that steps will be taken to help the workers affected.
“Today’s announcement by Honda of job losses in Swindon will affect many families throughout the town, and our first thoughts should be with them,” he said in a statement posted on his website.
“I have received a briefing from senior management at Honda at which I sought and received an assurance that everything possible will be done to minimise the impact on Honda’s associates (employees). I have asked that the options of redeployment or voluntary redundancy are always explored wherever possible.
“In addition I have spoken at length to Swindon’s Job Centre Plus to ensure that all the necessary advice and assistance can be provided for the associates who are being affected. On Monday I will be chairing a meeting of the DWP Area Action Team, which brings together a number of bodies including Forward Swindon and the Job Centre. This will explore every possibility for helping and supporting the people affected by this announcement.
“Today I also spoke to Number Ten Downing Street. The Prime Minister is well aware of the impact of this announcement on Swindon. The government is doing all it can to ensure that the economy returns to growth. I will be having further discussions to ensure that Swindon receives whatever assistance is available.
“Rest assured I will continue working hard to ensure that the Honda associates affected by today’s announcement are given every possible help, and that Honda is given every support in its role as a vital employer in Swindon.”
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said he had urged Honda bosses to bring new work to the Swindon plant.
“This is very disappointing news, especially in the context of the overall strength of the UK automotive industry with strong sales for Honda’s competitors,” he said.
“It is clear that Honda’s commitment to Swindon remains strong with £250m invested in the plant since 2011, but the current projected sales of 120,000 per year can be produced by the consolidated one line.
“There are already plans to introduce four new designs into the European market next year. I have already spoken directly with Honda to stress the urgency that Honda speed up the implementation of the new designs. This will be key to reversing the disappointing sales figures.
“As with last year’s job loss announcement, myself and Robert Buckland MP will work with Honda UK, Government, Unite, DWP, Forward Swindon, Swindon Borough Council & Jobcentre Plus to help assist those who face redundancy.
“To Honda’s credit, they worked exceptionally hard to support their staff following last year’s announcement. Through this support work, of the 800 who faced redundancy, only 34 were not able to secure alternative work or take early retirement with the enhanced redundancy package. This joint working is crucial for both the staff and the local economy.”