Honda cannot leave its European workers behind but treat them with dignity and respect
The Japanese company announced out of the blue their intention to close its plants in Swindon (UK) and Çayırova (Turkey) in 2021. That would lead to 3,500 direct job losses at Swindon and a further 1,100 in Çayırova. But the move, which came despite the company’s steadily increasing profits and a positive forecast for growth worldwide, also puts the future of around 6,500more Honda workers in the remaining Honda European sites in jeopardy.
Thousands more jobs are at stake all along Honda European supply chain and local communities. In response, Honda trade unions from across Europe are coming together under the coordination of industriAll Europe to fight back against these job cuts and urge the company to rethink its strategy.
Trade union representatives from the UK, Belgium, France, Spain and Turkey met in London on Friday, April 5 (pictured) to coordinate a united response, while Honda workers in Italy showed solidarity with the meeting by halting production for an hour.
The mobilisation reflects the high levels of concern about the future of the company’s commitment to Europe among the Honda workforce. industriAll General Secretary Luc Triangle said:
“Although Honda management keeps denying it, stopping car production in Europe would have a knock-on effect on all of Honda operations, be it logistics, sales, component manufacturing or R&D activities, beyond the UK and Turkey. Honda restructuring plan is a European restructuring plan which is therefore meeting a coordinated reaction from European trade unions.
“We urge Honda to rethink its strategy for Europe and to engage into high-level of dialogue with worker and trade union representatives. Honda must commit to its corporate responsibility values. Honda cannot leave its European workers behind but treat them with dignity and respect.”
At the meeting in London, Honda unions agreed to urge the company to:
- Rethink its strategy. The short-term decision of shutting down European car production plants will deprive Honda from the manufacturing footprint it will need to seize the future growth and opportunities the European market has to offer on the long term, including concerning electrified vehicles.
- Engage in quality social dialogue. Honda management must engage into meaningful discussions with trade union representatives on alternative to the closure of the Swindon and Çayırova plants. An extraordinary information and consultation procedure of its European works council (the Honda European Communication and Consultation Group) must be launched with no further delay.
The meeting came after thousands ofHonda workers, their families and supporters demonstrated in Swindon on March 30. More than 16,000 people from across Europe have now signed a petition demanding Honda rethink its plans to close the plant and prominent UK politicians have pledged their support to the #SaveHondaSwindon campaign.
The news about Honda’s restructuring plans, particularly the proposed closure of the Swindon plant, sparked an unprecedented wave of solidarity.
From Montesa in Spain to Orléans in France, from Turkey to Italy, From Brussels to Geneva, Honda workers and trade union representatives have expressed their solidarity with their colleagues in Swindon by sending video solidarity messages.
Honda is a profitable car and motorcycle manufacturer. Globally, sales revenues steadily increase, worldwide market share is on a smooth rise, operating profit remain positive and production forecast are bright. In Europe, Honda benefits from world-class and award-winning plants at Swindon (UK) and Çayırova (Turkey) where dedicated skilled workers manufacture high-quality products. The Swindon plant was even designated to serve as Honda global supply base of its Civic series.
industriAll General Secretary Luc Triangle added:
“The brutality of the announcement is unacceptable. Last November, Honda representatives were told about how Honda would thrive in Europe for a new strategy geared toward electrified vehicles. In just a couple of months, the strategy made a 180 turn, with trade union representatives being left in the dark until they discover the news thanks to a leak in the press. This is not the social dialogue industriAll Europe strives for. This is not how we conceive the anticipation of change in our industries in a socially responsible way through constructive dialogue.”
For more information, please contact: Aline Conchon, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 22 26 00 54