The taskforce set up to help workers at Honda find new jobs after their factory closes held its first meeting on Wednesday.
Thousands of workers are set to lose their jobs when the Swindon site closes in 2021.
Steve Turner, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said: “After yesterday’s devastating news we pressed hard and really needed to hear that the UK Government would be working as tirelessly as we will be to save this plant, its extended supply chain and the families and communities who rely upon it.
“We heard today that we will be given that support from the business secretary, Greg Clark and we will be taking him at his word on this.
“We need central government, local and regional authorities, as well as innovative supply chain partners, to join us in developing a viable alternative plan that maintains both Honda in Swindon and the UK automotive industry as a jewel in the crown of UK manufacturing.
“In doing so, we will be sending a clear message back to Japan that we are not giving up on our plant and we will not let Honda give up on it either.”
Mr Turner said as well as the 3,500 job losses at the plant, 15,000 more jobs are under threat at supply companies.
“It is testimony to the spirit of our members that they turned up to today’s meeting determined to show that we are not giving up the ghost. The fight for a secure future began today.
Speaking after the first meeting of the #Honda taskforce held in #Swindon, Unite AGS Steve Turner said: “We heard today that we will be given that support from the business secretary, Greg Clark MP and we will be taking him at his word on this.”https://t.co/BVWyBQRzoe— Unite the union (@unitetheunion) February 20, 2019
“The united message out of today’s event is that this plant can and should be at the core of an innovative transition from combustion engines to fuel cell and electrical propulsion.
“UK investment and R&D into next-generation battery technology, coupled with the local manufacturing of power conversion systems and hydrogen capture, will transform our sector into a powerhouse for the emerging technologies that will shape this industry through the 2020s and well into the 2030s.
“This is the message we want to be heard in Japan and Unite will be joining government in a delegation to do just that.
“Honda, do not turn your back on this plant, its loyal, skilled workforce or the superb integrated supply chain. Honda can thrive in the UK, not just supplying European markets, but as a global leader exporting a world-class product across the globe.”
Formal consultations with the company on the future of the plant will start on Thursday.
- Press Association