HONDA workers are organising a massive march through the town centre in a bid to persuade the car manufacturer to stay here and save thousands of local jobs.

The Adver is calling on its thousands of readers to rally behind them and come out in force to fight for the future of Swindon later this month.

After more than 15,000 people signed a #SaveHonda petition in one weekend, supporters hoping the company will U-turn on its shock announcement to close the Stratton plant will gather at the County Ground car park at 11am on March 30 and march to GWR Park on Faringdon Road.

Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey will address the crowd before they set off. The union is organising coaches to bus people into Swindon from all over England.

Mayor of Swindon Junab Ali will say a few words when the marchers arrive at the park at around 12.30pm.

He told the Adver: “If there’s any chance of persuading Honda to stay, then we need to take it. This is a great gesture to show Honda executives that we have hard-working world-class employees who deserve to keep their jobs.

“I’m hopeful that people will show solidarity with the workers and their families the future for them is uncertain so we need to untie and support them, and I’m confident that a lot of people will turn up to the march.

“I’m looking forward to it, I’m fully behind it, I represent 230,000 people in this town and I want to help everyone here in any way I can.”

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Marchers will be accompanied on their route by a marching band and led by two Honda Civics, which are made at the Swindon plant and make up one in every 10 cars sold in the UK.

Leader of Swindon Labour group Jim Grant said: “It will be good for the town to voice its protest against Honda leaving, show how much it means to them, and support the government’s bid to keep the plant open.

“This is not a political event, everyone is coming together for the good of the town, it will be fantastic and I hope it has an effect.

“I’m an intermediary between Unite and the borough council. A task force met for the first time three weeks ago to see what could be done to save the Honda plant.”

At the park, local businesses will provide food and children’s entertainment, the Unite union’s brass band will play and Swindon singer-songwriter Josh Kumra will perform live.

Josh said: “Swindon is my home town and I want the best for it. Swindon will be hit so hard if Honda moves out which is why I want to be part of the campaign fighting to persuade Honda to think again. I hope that the community will join us on March 30 to send that message loud and clear.”

Unite’s regional secretary Steve Preddy said: “The news of the closure initially knocked the stuffing out of the Honda workforce but the support they have had from their community so far has been tremendous.

"We are really hoping that this solidarity will be on display at our community event this month for the Honda boardroom in Japan to see.

"This will be a day for supporters to come together to say that over the past 30 years, this town has given so much to Honda.

"The company cannot turn its back on this town now.”

“It is not just the Honda workers who will suffer if this company walks away. We know of smaller companies whose only contract is with Honda so if Swindon closes, these jobs go too. The knock-on effect for the region will be devastating which is why we will fight until the last to persuade this company to think again, to stay loyal to the workers of this town and to Honda’s customers in the UK.

“So we call upon everyone in Swindon and the surrounding area, stand with us.. Let’s take to the streets of the town and show that we are determined to fight for a brighter future for our communities.”