Page last updated at 14:12 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 15:12 UK

Honda staff vote for 3% pay cut

Staff leave the Honda plant in Swindon (file photo)

Workers at Honda's Swindon plant have voted in favour of taking a 3% pay cut for 10 months in an attempt to safeguard 490 jobs.

In return, the workers will receive a bonus of six additional days' leave, Unite the union said. Managers' pay will be cut by 5%.

Of those balloted, 89% voted for a cut after the plant closed for four months.

They were asked to take a salary reduction after too few staff took up the offer of voluntary redundancy.

The plant has been shut for four months because of a fall in demand for new cars. It is due to reopen next month.

While pay freezes have become common in the car industry, pay cuts are more unusual.

"While a number of struggling companies are imposing pay freezes on their workers, to get employees to accept a pay cut is a significant achievement," the BBC's employment correspondent Martin Shankleman said.

"It is a measure of the calibre of industrial relations at the plant."

Jim D'Avila, regional officer for Unite, said the workers at Honda were standing together in "true solidarity in difficult times to protect hundreds of jobs".

The slump in car production was underlined earlier by industry figures which said the number of cars made in the UK halved in April.

Carmakers are pinning their hopes on the government's car scrappage scheme, which started earlier this month.

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