FURIOUS late shift workers at Honda are outraged after many found out hey had lost their jobs through news reports and social media.

A media storm erupted on Monday after news that 3,500 workers would be let go when the plant closes in 2021, but the car manufacturer remained tight-lipped until it confirmed the devastating reports to staff at 8am yesterday.

But hundreds of workers on the evening shift, who start work at 3.30pm and finish at midnight, weren’t told in person and found out through media reports.

Jason, a late shift worker who has been at the plant for more than 20 years, said he was disgusted with the company for how it informed its employees.

“I found out on the TV that I lost my job,” he told the Adver.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful for a global company. They didn’t have the backbone to tell us to our face. It’s an absolute outrage.

“Us late shift workers didn’t know anything. They didn’t say a thing last night.

“All they said was they couldn’t comment.

“I’m not so bothered about losing my job, luckily for me my children are all grown up. It’s probably a blow for the younger ones who do have kids. It’s just disappointing how they went about it.

“The top managers did it by video link, I think there were a lot of angry people yesterday morning.”

Approximately 500 to 600 employees working on the late shift would have missed the official announcement.

The firm said the announcement on Tuesday morning was meant to be coordinated to support workers who would be allowed to go home early and to offer them counselling.

Jason Smith, the Swindon director of UK manufacturing for Honda, said he was disappointed by the leak and explained why manufacturing in the UK and Europe will end by 2021.

“We have announced the very sad news to cease production of the current Civic model when it runs out in 2021,” he told the Adver.

“We appreciate that’s a big shock to all of our workforce and associates and appreciate the impact on the local community and the wider supply chain.”

He said Europe represented only around three per cent of sales for the Honda Civic – around 150,000 units – as one factor for closing the plant.

“When you are looking to have a fairly big investment in electrified vehicles it makes sense to invest in those big markets and unfortunately that’s not in Europe and very sadly that’s not in the UK,” he added.

“It is not a decision Honda has taken lightly and it fully understands the gravity and scale of the impact to its associates and wider community.”

Commenting on the firm’s plan to inform workers he said: “The news leaked – that’s very sad and unfortunate. We wanted to be the first to tell our associates. We had to engage in a small stakeholder group on Monday.

“We explained to our associates our intention was to explain to them first hand and are very disappointed that we weren’t able to do that before they found out through the news yesterday.”

On a personal note he added: “I’ve worked here for more than 27 years, I understand the impact, and I wanted to make sure there was a strong future so it’s a sad announcement.

“We want to go out on a positive note on the community. We don’t want to forget the history of manufacturing that we have had in Swindon.”

Several large companies are known to be suppliers to the South Marston plant, including TS Tech in Highworth, which makes the sports seat for the Honda Civic Type R.

The company refused to comment further when approached by the Adver but the shockwaves are expected to hit many small businesses in the region. Some figures put the numbers of people to be affected but not directly employed by Honda to be another 3,500.

Ruth Lambert, Federation of Small Business development manager for Wiltshire and Somerset, said: “The planned closure is not only devastating for the skilled workforce employed there, but a very worrying time for all the small businesses throughout Honda’s supply chain, and especially local firms in the surrounding area.

“Across the region there’s a huge network of businesses that will be impacted by the closure and will now be very concerned about their futures.

“From caterers and cleaners, to nearby cafes, thousands of small businesses rely heavily on the Swindon plant and this announcement will be incredibly unsettling for them.

“Businesses throughout the supply chain must be given guidance and be kept fully aware of the situation.”

Les Durrant, president of the Swindon Chamber of Commerce, said a task force had been set up to minimise the impact on the town.

“At a time when energy, momentum and confidence returned to the town, and with significant regeneration plans firmly in place, Swindon has been dealt a significant blow,” he said.

“However, Swindon businesses are resilient. We are already working closely with Honda, in conjunction with our strategic partners, and have established a local task force.”