The car manufacturing plant’s closure resulted in the termination of over 3,000 jobs, Honda officially blamed the closure on the company’s shift towards the emerging electric car market outside the UK. However many, including a Honda briefing in 2018, suggested Brexit played a factor in the company’s decision. Regardless, the outcome has been devastating for the workers, many of which voted for Brexit themselves. Sean Forde, who has worked in Honda for over 30 years, heard about the plant’s closure from a Sky News exclusive.
“We just laughed it off to be honest, we thought nothing of it, and it wasn’t until later in the day that an official announcement came through.” says Sean, who received the news with shock. “What do I do now? What about my family? What about my future? What about all those people that work in the plant?” questioned Sean who went on to underpin how important the plant was for Swindon, not just for the workers but the entire economy.
“Swindon has always been associated in living memory with Honda, it’s been the main employer here and everything has fed off that in terms of restaurants, hotels and other supply chains.” says Liz Webster, who highlighted how the plant’s closure will send ripples through the entirety of the town.
“Brexit, I believe, certainly had an impact, but I don’t think that when people made that decision to leave it was based on the facts that are actually present today.” said Martin Macclay, a former Honda manager. “If you could turn back the clock, I think certainly a majority of Honda people would not, if they did, vote to leave because they would be seeing it as damaging their future.”
“I’ve met a lot of Romanian people, some of them don’t have a lot to do left and are moving back to Romania.” said Lucian Buiac, who brought his wife and daughter from Romania to work at the plant, both to make a living and learn valuable skills in engineering. He was devastated to hear about the plant’s closure but is still determined to remain in Swindon with his family.
Voices like that of Liz believe Honda’s closure has been ignored by the Media, with most of the focus being on Nissan’s plant in Sunderland which has already been bailed out by the UK government. “Why is [Honda’s closure] not being focused on? I suspect it’s because there’s such a drive to protect Brexit – Brexit is more important than Britain.” says Liz, who says the thousands of disappointed and unemployed households are being ignored by the Media to protect Brexit’s legacy.
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