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Honda trims its workforce as well as production

HONDA Motor Co yesterday announced another round of job cuts in Japan as it trims production by thousands of vehicles to cope with a global drop in car demand.

Japan's No. 2 car maker said the decision to cut 3,100 jobs will slash to zero the number of temporary workers at its plants by the end of April. It had already reduced its temporary workforce by 1,200.

Major Japanese car makers are under pressure not to lay off full-fledged workers because of the nation's corporate culture encourages lifetime employment. Instead, they have relied on cuts to their large temporary workforces to adjust for the lower demand.

Honda also announced yesterday that it was slashing production in Japan by an additional 56,000 vehicles amid the global slump.

The car maker, which employs 185,000 people globally, now plans to produce 1.168 million vehicles in Japan for the fiscal year ending March, down from its initial plan of 1.31 million vehicles.

The global financial crisis and the damage from a surging yen have taken their toll on Tokyo-based Honda -- which makes the Odyssey minivan and Accord sedan -- along with other Japanese car makers.

Nissan Motor Co is also reducing its temporary workforce to zero by the end of March from some 2,000 people last year.

The plight of the thousands of temporary employees who have lost their jobs -- not only in the car industry but other sectors -- has drawn scrutiny of the companies involved and considerable public sympathy.

Some live in company dormitories and lose their accommodations when their contracts aren't renewed.

Hundreds who have become homeless came for free meals, shelter in tents, job-counseling and medical checkups offered by volunteers in a Tokyo park during the New Year's holidays.


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