Honda staff expected to take 3 per cent pay cut to save 490 jobs

Workers at Honda's Swindon factory are expected to accept a 3 per cent pay cut when the plant goes back into production next month.

The package, which will run until March 2010 and also includes a 5 per cent cut for managers and an extra six days of holiday, was brokered to save 490 jobs. A ballot of the 500 Unite trade union members, out of a total workforce of 3,400, started yesterday with the recommendation that staff accept the terms on offer.

The Swindon facility closed for four months in February to clear the backlog from collapsing consumer demand. A voluntary redundancy scheme from September until April cut numbers by 1,400, or nearly 30 per cent, leaving a shortfall of 490. Jim D'Avila, the Unite regional officer, said yesterday: "In return for a temporary cut in pay we can ensure that hundreds of workers stay in work."

During the four months of downtime, Swindon has undergone major refurbishment, with more than 1,000 factory staff offered work ranging from plumbing to painting. Machinery and assembly lines have been stripped and rebuilt, and new production facilities are in place to start building the Jazz model in October. A new painting process, new press facility and new weld line have also been installed.

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