135 jobs to be cut at Honda partner

This Is Wiltshire: Workers at Honda subsidiary South Marston Distribution Centre face an uncertain future Workers at Honda subsidiary South Marston Distribution Centre face an uncertain future

ANOTHER 135 jobs will be lost following Honda’s decision to scale back manufacturing, with South Marston Distribution Centre choosing to make cutbacks at the end of this month.

SDC is owned by Honda but operates as a separate subsidiary to Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) in Highworth Road.

The announcement last week by HUM to cut 340 permanent and 160 temporary employees from its workforce has had a knock-on effect for SDC, which stores and prepares the parts used by its sister company to build Honda cars.

SDC has a core workforce of 721, with 234 of those temporary staff. This number will be reduced to 99 following yesterday’s announcement.

All associates at the centre were informed of the cutbacks on Wednesday in a series of separate briefs, though no decision on which individuals will be among the 135 has yet been made.

Steve Gopal, director of operations at SDC, said: “We have spent the last week trying to assess the impact of HUM’s decision and mitigate the impact.

“After all our calculations we have made projections and this is the number we have come to.

“These associates, throughout the month, will be informed when they’re leaving and we hope the whole process will be completed in the last week of April or the first week in May.

“At the moment, the management team are looking at the people who will be retained.

“We are going to adopt as fair a process as you would expect from this. No decisions as to who will be released have been made yet.

“We will look at performance and those associates which will be best for taking the business forward.

“There will be data to look at and this process will be objective.”

Pertemps, a recruitment agency based in Commercial Road, is responsible for placing temporary staff at SDC.

Anne Wilkes, operations director at Pertemps, said the job losses will be effective from April 30, as SDC reduces its operation on one line from a double to a single shift.

She also said all of those workers affected would be informed of their futures by SDC no later than April 25.

“Pertemps and SDC will remain in close communication during this time and appreciate that this is sad news for all concerned,” she said.

“This is a business decision that has had to be made due to the needs of our client SDC.

“Pertemps will hope to offer alternative temporary employment to those affected and will continue to communicate directly with our temporary workforce.”

Meanwhile, South Swindon MP Robert Buckland has extended the support of the Honda Task Force, created to assist those workers facing redundancy at HUM, to SDC staff at risk.

“Obviously this is disappointing as a follow-on from Honda’s news last week,” he said.

“As we did last year with the task force, it’s important we engage with the supply chain to Honda, in order to help employees affected by this news.

“They will need our support to put them into other jobs and other opportunities.

“I will make sure that the supply chain issue is very much on the agenda with the task force and that we contact all those companies.”

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