FEWER than 100 workers may end up facing compulsory redundancy at Honda as consultation discussions with Unite reach their final stages today.

Ever since Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) announced it would be cutting 500 jobs from its 3,000-strong workforce on March 25, there have been discussions regarding who would go and what type of financial package they would receive.

The deadline for applications to leave the business voluntarily, using HUM’s Associate Release Programme, closed on April 22, by which point 191 associates had applied to leave voluntarily.

With 340 of the 500 cuts coming from permanent staff, it was thought the company would be facing no choice but to axe the remaining 150 positions with compulsory terms.

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However, Unite’s regional co-ordinating officer in Swindon, Jim D’Avila, above, has revealed there may be as few as 83 forced out of the Highworth Road plant.

He said the company had conceded a number of jobs previously done by agency staff would now be performed by some of those full-time associates at risk of redundancy.

HUM has also re-opened its programme to encourage any of those workers who may be on the cusp of opting to leave the business. It was reopened on Wednesday and closes today.

Mr D’Avila said the main sticking point in discussions between the two parties had been the issue of agency workers occupying the jobs at HUM which could be given to the permanent staff under threat. HUM said there are approximately 75 roles outsourced within the main areas of the business discussed during the consultation process.

“They are adamant it would be illegal if they let them (agency staff) go, but we are saying it wouldn’t be illegal if they did it properly and paid them off,” said Mr D’Avila.

“They are prepared to pay off their own Honda staff and that’s going to cost them a lot more.

“I’m not happy because I still think the company, by stating it’s their intention to reduce the wage bill by contracting agency workers on lower money, is undermining the security of Honda workers.”

A HUM spokeswoman said: “In order to maintain stability within a business it is important to resource with permanent associates and we will continue to recruit the best associates for the business.

“However, there is always a requirement within a production environment to keep a level of temporary labour in order to facilitate with fluctuating production requirements.

“There has been no change to our current recruitment strategy, which is to place the right people in the right positions at the right time.”

HUM has been slightly more modest than Unite in its current forecast for compulsory redundancies. It said there may well be as many as 109 at the time of writing.

Next week the number will become clearer, and HUM will establish which people will have to leave.