Japanese automotive manufacturer Honda is planning to cut production at its Swindon facility, which could result in the axing of 500 jobs at the site.
Workers were informed yesterday that car plant two would be closing with the loss of 340 jobs, with an additional 160 temporary positions also set to be cut.
The carmaker, which started production at Swindon in 1992, blames poor vehicle sales outside of the UK in the recovering European market as a key reason behind the decision.
Honda intends to reduce workflow on production of its Civic vehicle from three daily shifts to two, with plans to use a single production line in an attempt to improve efficiency and flexibility.
The announcement follows on from Honda making 38 compulsory and 554 voluntary redundancies last year.
Ian Howells, senior vice president of Honda Motor Europe, admitted the company hasn’t seen the growth it anticipated throughout the last 12 months.
“With no increase forecast for the next couple of years, we must scale our manufacturing activity accordingly,” he said.
Mr Howells also played down fears that production could cease at Swindon permanently, adding: “However, with the restructuring we’re taking today, and our new model plans, we remain confident in the long-term future of our Swindon plant.”
Tony Murphy, national officer of union Unite, added: “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“Decent, skilled jobs are being lost today and investment is being withdrawn, which is ringing alarm bells and putting the remaining workforce in fear for their future.”