Insight: ‘I don’t think Brexit helped matters’. A Honda employee on the closure of the Swindon plant in his own words.

Further to news that Honda is to close its Swindon plant – an employee tells us in his own words why he thinks it happened and what it will mean for thousands of workers in Swindon.

I don’t think Brexit helped matters to be honest. It’s not the major factor, but probably one that swayed it for them. The factory is getting old. They’ve already pumped millions (if not billions) into it, and the equipment is ageing. They have a car plant that’s completely empty as we are nowhere near capacity and the car plant that is running, isn’t fit for purpose… it obviously works for the time being, but the costs to update it when electric cars start taking over would be astronomical. Do I think Honda would be doing this if Brexit wasn’t happening? Probably… The factory has been in decline for a while now. In the last 4 years, we had the civic, jazz and CRV models. We are now down to 1 model, 1 operating car plant and we build around 570 cars a day. The factory as a whole has the ability to build around 1,300 (rough guess). As for the mood, it’s obviously one of disbelief. I worked the late shift last night, so we were going in as the news broke that they were intending closing us. A lot of people were shocked, some still don’t believe it will happen! The worst thing for us was the silence. There was no official notice from anyone, nor did they acknowledge it. We were just reassured that any significant news would be told to staff first. That news never came and we all found out this morning watching the news… from what I could gauge last night, no one was anti anyone really. Everyone has always speculated the plant would close eventually. It’s not any of the managers within HUM’s fault so there’s no anger being directed at them regarding the decision, just that we wasn’t told before the press. A lot of people are obviously concerned, not so much losing their jobs, but what will come after. There’s going to be around 10,000 Swindonians all out of work at the same time and there just isn’t anything there to support that sort of unemployment.

honda
The Honda plant in Swindon – which opened in 1985