WORKERS at Honda have told of the moment they were told by bosses the plant was closing.

The Adver can reveal that employees were given briefing packs on the planned shut-down, telling them the decision “has not been taken lightly”.

Staff at the factory watched a video where a director spoke of his heavy heart as he explained the decision to cease operations in 2021.

The major UK car plant is to close with the loss of around 3,500 jobs, the Japanese auto giant confirmed earlier this week.

A video address by Jason Smith, director of Honda of the UK Manufacturing, was played to employees as production and operations were halted at the plant in South Marston on the day of the announcement.

Mr Smith said: “It’s with a heavy heart that I must announce to you today that as a consequence of the planned restructure, it’s proposed that the entire HUM site here in Swindon will cease operations in 2021, when production of the current model Civic will come to an end.

“These proposals will be subject to appropriate consultation with your representatives, who we will work closely with over the coming weeks.

“Associates at Honda Turkey are also being informed today of the proposal to cease manufacturing at the end of their current model production in 2021.

“Whilst I know this news will come as a shock, please be assured that the decision-making process behind this proposal has not been taken lightly.”

The briefing pack given to employees outlines the support options available to them in the run-up to the closure and states: “This proposal was not made in response to Brexit.”

Another section about the announcement day stated: “Production and operations have stopped for today to allow you time to attend Genba meetings and drop-in sessions.”

Workers were given the option to return home with no loss of earnings.

One employee, who asked not to be named, said: “There was a lot of shock and anger at the announcement.”

They said people went home for the day to let off steam and take in the news.

“What really makes me angry is that the news of the closure was leaked before the official announcement.”

Honda has announced the closure as part of a global restructuring based on unprecedented changes in the automotive industry.

In the video, Mr Smith continued: “I understand the enormity of this announcement today for all of us, but also for those in our supply chain and in the local community. I can assure you that my primary concern now is to ensure you are fully supported through this difficult time.

“I know you’ll be thinking about what happens now, so we’ve prepared a pack for you to take away today, which will give you more details…

“Having worked at HUM for 27 years, I understand the impact that today’s announcement will have.

“Therefore we will not ask you to return to work for the rest of today.

“Please feel free to return home and take the time to reflect on this news with your family.

“We will resume normal manufacturing tomorrow.”

Honda workers were given the opportunity of watching the video on internal channels, including at drop-in sessions with the company’s HR team.

Mr Smith said: “I encourage you to take advantage of the drop-in sessions this week and refer to Spark [internal network] for any further updates.

“It is with much sadness that I have had to share this news with you today.”

A spokeswoman for Honda said: “Staff at the plant in Swindon were given the day to go home to process and digest the news.”

No one from Honda would speak to the Adver yesterday about what was happening next regarding the consultation.