This news might come as a shock to thousands of Goans living and working in the UK and also to their families who are staying in Goa. There are several thousands of Indians living in London and the majority of them are Goans who have migrated to the UK with the help of Portuguese passports. According to the sources, most of them are set to lose their jobs as the Honda Car Manufacturing facility in Swindon decided to shut down their plant.

According to the report published by the Times of India Several thousand Indians, the majority of whom are Goan, are set to lose their jobs after car manufacturer Honda, on Tuesday, announced the closure of its Swindon car plant. The Japanese company builds 1,50,000 Honda Civic Hatchbacks annually in the Wiltshire town, its only car factory in the EU, and exports them to over 70 countries.

The report further states that the Honda company has new plans in the future and they are most probably shifting their focus towards making of an electrical vehicle. Honda announced it would close its Swindon vehicle manufacturing plant at the end of the current model’s production lifecycle in 2021, to focus on building electrified cars.

The new development will affect thousands of Goans working on this plant, said the sources. There is a possibility of more than 3500 Indians working in this plant will lose their job which will again affect around 900 permanent staff most of them are Goans, said the sources.

Goans seems to be the most affected by this decision, according to one Goan working in the plant his all the dreams seem to have shattered and he has no idea as what to do. People are in shock. I have a child and my parents live with me, plus my wife. This will have a huge impact on our household income

According to the sources, there are several thousands of PIOs (Persons of Indian-origin) who came down here from all over India including Goa, Punjab, and Gujarat. Many thousand more PIOs, mainly Goans, work in the Honda supply chain. “More than 10,000 people are employed in Honda’s supply chain in Swindon, 65% of whom are of Indian-origin,” a Honda general associate and a Goan.“These guys are not part of the 3,500 figure. Eventually, they will lose their jobs too,” said the sources.

The workers received the shocking news when they went to attend their job on Tuesday morning and they have been told to leave the factory as there will be no work. “We were doing our jobs, working on engines and then someone saw it on the news in the canteen. We all went in (to work) on Tuesday, were officially informed and then told to go home,” a worker said.       

The Honda supply chain includes TS Tech UK Limited, which makes car seats for Honda; Honda Logistics, UK, which delivers parts to the Swindon plant; SDC which runs Honda’s warehousing operations and G-Tem which supplies parts. Approximately 20,000 Goans live in Swindon where Honda is the main employer.        

“It’s a sad time for everyone affected and it is unfortunate that they found out via the media rather than from the company,” said Swindon’s first councilor of Goan-origin, Labour’s Imtiyaz Shaikh. “The prime minister now needs to rule out ‘no deal’ immediately and keep us in the single market and customs union rather than risk further fatal damage to our car industry,” he added.

Mr. Shaikh further stated that this news has come as it had come as a “bitter blow” to employees and he holds Brexit responsible. Shaikh said estimates were that 7,000 people in the town would lose their jobs in total.

President, Goan Swindon Association, Nelson Carvalho said, This is going to have a devastating effect on Goans in Swindon because so many of them work for Honda and its supply chain

Goans seems to be the most affected by this decision, according to one Goan working in the plant his all the dreams seem to have shattered and he has no idea as what to do. “People are in shock. I have a child and my parents live with me, plus my wife. This will have a huge impact on our household income,” said a Goan, who has been employed as a Honda associate. He moved to the UK in 2005 as a dependant on his father’s Portuguese passport.     

“We have two years to find jobs. There is nothing in Swindon, that’s for sure. I’m not sure what jobs are left in the car industry in the UK. Jaguar Land Rover has announced 4,500 job cuts, Nissan is not going to build its flagship X-Trail car here. We will have to change trades or work in a warehouse.”     

Another Goan, who has worked at Honda for 15 years in various departments and is a Portuguese passport holder, told TOI “It is the uncertainty. If Honda invests more money into the plant, it could be a problem if they face tariffs after Brexit. I know at one point they were thinking of upgrading this plant to make electric cars here, but not anymore.” 

“I really like working there. I get a new lease car every year. Generations of the same family work there. Swindon is going to become a ghost town. Everyone depends on the plant. It pays well and people’s lifestyle depends on it.            

There are thousands of Goans living in Swindon

President, Goan Swindon Association, Nelson Carvalho said, “This is going to have a devastating effect on Goans in Swindon because so many of them work for Honda and its supply chain. In 2021, they will all be looking for new jobs. They are all settled here with families and mortgages to pay. Most of them own houses. I don’t think any of them are planning on returning to Goa yet, but as 2021 gets closer, they might do. With Brexit looming, it is not going to be easy to find jobs in the same field.”    

President, Honda Motor Europe, Katsushi Inoue, said: “This has not been taken lightly and we deeply regret how unsettling the announcement will be for our people.”

Presently some Goans still have two more years to shift their base to another location of find new jobs in swindon which is more difficult as there are no good jobs left in there, said the sources.   

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