A union recognition ballot is to be held among Honda's 4,000 UK employees. If the vote goes the AEEU's way, Honda will be forced to recognise the union for the first time in its 16 years in the UK.

Legislation for statutory union recognition in the UK came into force last year.

The carmaker, which prefers to call its workers "associates", is to hold a ballot after previously turning down a request for recognition.

The union now claims it has 1,600 members at the Swindon plant after it mounted a special recruitment drive.

The British trade union movement will see a vote for union recognition at Honda as an important victory. Since the 1980s and legislation which ended 'closed shop' practices, union membership in the UK has been in steady decline.

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