Honda Cars Philippines announced on Saturday that it is closing its 28-year-old plant in Laguna as part of its ongoing restructure of its global manufacturing network. The plant, which employs 650 workers, had been running at less than half capacity since January and the number of models it produces had been reduced at the start of February.
Workers at the plant were reportedly shocked by the announcement and refused to leave the premises without getting a proper explanation from management, according to the Liga ng mga Manggagawa sa Honda union, which also claimed that despite the cuts in production, there had been no prior indication that the plant would be closed.
The Laguna plant is the first casualty of Honda’s restructuring this year. In 2019, the automaker had already announced it would close its plant in Argentina by 2020, followed by its plants in Turkey and the UK by 2021, affecting an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 workers in total. During the 2019 announcements, Honda said that the restructuring is in response to the growing electrification of the automobile industry, which will require it to “focus activity in regions where it expects to have high production volumes.”
Many of the affected workers may not be able to find new jobs in the automobile industry. In all four of the countries where Honda has shuttered or is planning to shutter its plants, the local automobile market is shrinking even as the prices of parts rise or, in the case of the Philippines, competition from vehicle imports increases.