Honda to halt production for another two months

Car giant Honda is to halt production at its UK factory for a further two months as the European motor market is not showing any signs of recovery.

The Japanese firm had already decided to stop production at its Swindon site in February and March, but that will now be extended into April and May.

The firm said there were no plans for redundancies among its 4,200 workforce at the site.

Honda said in a statement: "The global financial situation has continued to affect consumer confidence in the car market and, as a result, Honda UK Manufacturing (HUM) have announced to its workforce in Swindon, 35 non-production days during the months of April and May with production restarting in June 2009.

"HUM reiterated their intention to safeguard employment for those associates who wish to stay with Honda at the plant,” HUM director David Hodgetts said. “There are no plans for redundancies.

"The European car market is not showing any signs of recovery yet and therefore we have to reduce our production output further to better match the current level of market demand. All other car manufacturers are facing a similar situation and we will continue to take prompt and flexible countermeasures to ensure that we can meet these challenges with this severe market situation.

"We intend to use the period of non-production days to further strengthen our competitiveness to take advantage of future market improvements."

Workers were said to be "stunned" at the announcement which union leaders said underlined the urgent need for state assistance for the car industry.

Derek Simpson, joint leader of Unite said: "With demand for Honda's products collapsed and a plunge in this year's production figures, one of our leading plants must stand idle for four months.

"Now, the Honda workforce is facing a 50 per cent cut in wages and are frightened for their jobs and futures. They, along with the rest of the car and components industry, desperately need to see some form of lifeline being thrown to the sector from the government.

"We also need immediate financial support for workers, such as those at Honda, who must take a cut in pay in order to keep their jobs."

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