Protest march held in bid to save Honda’s Swindon plant

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Car giant Honda will be urged to reverse its decision to close its UK plant during a protest march on Saturday.

Workers from the plant in Swindon will be joined by community leaders and politicians amid warnings of the huge impact on jobs of the Japanese firm’s shock announcement to close the plant in 2021.

Unite, which has organised the event, said many thousands of jobs will be lost in the supply chain as well as 3,500 at the factory.

Workers based across the country, including Wales, the Midlands and the South East, rely on contracts from Honda.

Unite said 130 manufacturing jobs are being lost every day amid the huge uncertainty over Brexit and the fall in sales of cars.

Unite’s assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Unite is determined to fight to keep Honda in Swindon. This is a world class plant with a loyal, dedicated workforce that have earned and deserve a secure future.

“It’s not just Honda workers we are fighting for. We have an extended supply chain dependent on the plant and we know from previous experience that when one skilled manufacturing job goes, four more follow elsewhere in the economy.

“That’s why we are fighting day and night to prevent that happening. This plant is viable and should have a bright future. The shift towards electric vehicles should signal a strong, secure, long-term future for Honda in Swindon and this is the case we are and will continue to make to both Honda and the UK government.”

Unite’s regional secretary Steve Preddy added: “Swindon has had a troubling downturn in its fortunes so this threat of closure couldn’t come at a worse time. Too many decent jobs have been lost and not replaced. That hurts a community, as you can see it in the high street.

“Swindon already has a foodbank that is struggling to cope with demand. It would be a tragedy if Honda walks away from a town that has given that company so much, sending a loyal workforce to the dole queue. We can’t and won’t let that happen.

“Businesses are telling us that they are fearful about what will happen to this town if Honda goes. There are apprentices whose career hangs in the balance.

“Above all, there will be thousands of breadwinners without a pay packet.”

Speakers at the event will include Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey, Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, as well as workers from the plant.

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