No reply to Honda Task Force’s offer of support for agency staff facing axe

WORKERS under threat of redundancy at South Marston Distribution Centre and TS Tech are not in line to benefit from the Honda Task Force.

The Honda suppliers have each announced to their staff that they will be forced to trim their workforces.

The move follows the car giant’s decision to scale back manufacturing at its UK operation in Highworth Road.

While South Marston Distribution Centre (SDC) has officially revealed it will slash 135 temporary positions, TS Tech has made nothing public, though employees have said two-thirds of all its agency staff will go following a briefing earlier this month.

Jill Annal, project manager of the task force, said the two businesses had failed to respond to the task force’s offer of help and advice for under-threat workers.

“TS Tech and SDC are letting go their temporary agency staff,” she said. “Those agencies will work as hard to find those personnel other work as anyone.

“Perhaps those agencies aren’t motivated in the same way as HUM (Honda of the UK Manufacturing) is. Recruitment is their business and they may have confidence in their own abilities.

“Anybody leaving those businesses will get advice at the job centre if they want it, and they will be invited to the jobs fair we are organising.

“We have approached the two businesses with help, but haven’t had any response as yet.”

Of the work already done by the task force, the most important to date has been two activity days held in a makeshift suite of rooms at HUM’s headquarters.

The deadline for production associates to apply for voluntary redundancy at HUM passed on Friday, but ahead of that Mrs Annal said a pattern in concerns had emerged among those still undecided on their future at HUM.

She said: “Those that had made their decision were quite clear, they had put their application to leave in and most already had a plan, but needed some support.

“Some people wanted enterprising advice for a new business start-up, whereas others were looking at retirement and information on part-time opportunities. “Those that hadn’t decided had uncertainties about the labour market and whether there was anything available similar to the work they do at HUM.

“They just want to know they’re not on their own in this. There is support available for them with CVs, training and even re-training if they want it.”

Towards the end of last week there were 130 people who had applied to leave HUM voluntarily.

More precise numbers are likely to emerge today or later this week on how many production associates have officially applied, with that number going some way to determining how many compulsory redundancies will need to be made to meet the quota of 500 jobs which must be cut.

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