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Quake-hit Honda to cut production

Car giant Honda is to halve production at its UK factory from next week until the end of May because of a shortage of parts from Japan.

The 3,000 workers at the plant in Swindon, Wiltshire, will remain on full pay, and the move will lead to 22,500 fewer cars being built, although Honda said it will make up the production by the end of the financial year.

Most parts for the three models built in Swindon are sourced in Europe, but a number of parts continue to be supplied from Japan, which is still recovering from the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The interruption of supply of these parts will now have an impact on production in the UK, said Honda., which added in a statement: "Production volume will continue at approximately 50% of the planned weekly level from April 11.

"By taking this action, Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) will be able to continue production by utilising HUM's flexible working policy. Pay is maintained for all associates. Once full production is resumed, the reduced volume production will be quickly recovered using the banked hours."

Following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11, Honda suspended car and component production in Japan, but the company announced last month that car production at its Suzuka and Sayama factories would resume from April 11, with production and shipment of component parts starting this week.

But the company said the parts supply situation remains "unstable", with production of component parts and vehicles at Honda plants in Japan resuming at around 50% of the original production plan.

"As parts supply stabilises and full production resumes, Honda will quickly develop a production schedule to meet the needs of Honda's European customers," the statement said.

Unite regional officer Jim D'Avila said: "We fully understand the difficult and extraordinary circumstances facing Japan. Unite representatives have been fully involved in discussions and have been co-operating with Honda.

"The union will be keeping a close eye on developments. Thanks to a working time agreement that Unite negotiated in 2009, there will be no loss of earnings for the workforce while the company cuts production."

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