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Monday, 10 December, 2001, 15:00 GMT
Honda workers vote for union
An aerial view of the Honda plant at Swindon
The Swindon plant employs more than 4,000 workers
Workers at the UK operations of Japanese car-making giant Honda have voted to form a union.

Nearly 75% of employees at the company's plant at Swindon in Wiltshire who took part in the ballot voted in favour of being represented by the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU).

The vote was the biggest since new government legislation was introduced on union recognition.

Sir Ken Jackson, general secretary of the AEEU said: "We look forward to working in partnership with Honda and its employees to keep this company stable, secure and successful."

Honda worker
Honda has agreed to work with the union

Mike McEnaney, manager of the Swindon plant said: "We already have very good relations and communications channels with our employees and this has been a major contributor to Honda's success at Swindon.

"We can develop a positive and constructive working relationship with the AEEU to help us improve further our business."

Garel Rhys, a car industry specialist at Cardiff University, said: "In some ways it is important that they deal with one union, otherwise half a dozen might try to recruit at the plant."

Billions invested

Turnout among the 4,000 workers was 77%, with 72% of votes cast in favour of recognition.

Sir Ken Jackson visited the Honda plant in person last week to try and gain support for his union.

The Swindon plant, which produces the Honda Civic and other models, has a capacity of 250,000 vehicles a year.

The company created 1,000 new jobs when it opened a second, 130m car plant at Swindon on 10 September 2001.

It has just started producing the CRV sports utility vehicle at the plant, mainly for export to the US.

Honda has invested a total of 1.15 billion in Swindon since the plant opened in 1985.

Honda, along with Nissan and Toyota, the two other large Japanese-owned car makers in the UK, have invested a total of 5.5bn in their operations.

See also:

10 Sep 01 | Business
Honda boosts UK investment
22 Nov 00 | Business
Honda 'regrets UK investment'
14 Aug 00 | Business
Honda boost for UK car industry
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