The Unite union, which represents workers at Honda’s Swindon plant, described today’s news as a “devastating blow to UK manufacturing” and warned total job losses could be four times as high when it hits firms in the supply chain.
The union called for urgent talks with Honda and for the Government to step in to ensure that the skills of the workforce were not lost to the industry.
National officer Tony Murphy said: “There is no getting away from it, these job losses are a devastating blow, not just for these workers but for the thousands more across the industry whose work is dependent on the Honda plant.
“Decent, skilled jobs are being lost today and investment is being withdrawn, which is ringing alarm bells and putting the remaining workforce in fear for their future.
“Today’s losses are also a wake-up call to the UK government. The economy is far too fragile to proclaim a recovery – those workers losing their jobs today will find claims that the country is turning a corner an insult.
“We cannot allow workers of this expertise to be dispatched to the dole queue – the country needs their skills if we are to power our country back to economic health.
“The truth is that there is simply no pick up in the incomes of Honda’s customers, either here or in the eurozone. People are not confident and do not have the cash to spend. That is something which must give the Government serious cause for concern.
“Unite is determined to do all we can to save these jobs and skills. It is vital that national government joins us in the fight for manufacturing. I appeal to Vincent Cable today to work with us to find ways of persuading Honda to think again on jobs and investment into this country.