VOLUNTARY redundancy packages made available at Honda following its decision to axe 500 jobs, have been opened up to hundreds more workers in senior roles.

Unite’s Jim D’Avila said Honda of the UK Manufact-uring (HUM) would write to supervisors, team leaders and leading associates with individual packages to leave the business.

HUM has not budged on its decision to exclude production associates with the highest appraisal marks from its voluntary packages, and will similarly exclude its best performing senior staff from the latest round of offers.

Today was the original deadline for production associates to make up their minds on the voluntary package offered to them, but this has now been extended for at least another week to allow those in senior roles time to decide their futures.

The decision to allow more staff to leave voluntarily means the final number of compulsory redundancies needed to make up the 500 personnel is likely to be lower.

The Unite rep also said the number for those production associates who have already indicated they wish to leave the business voluntarily has crept over 100, though this is likely to be confirmed today or next Monday.

The supervisors, team leaders and leading associates’ jobs are not at risk, but if they choose to leave, their roles will be backfilled by production associates looking to climb the ladder.

Mr D’Avila, Unite’s regional co-ordinating officer in Swindon, has welcomed the decision, as it minimises the risk of compulsory redundancies for those production associates who do not wish to leave the business.

“This is something we pushed for from the start of our negotiations,” he said. “We wanted packages to be offered out to everyone on the site.

“The decision to extend the deadline was only made at the end of this week and we are still discussing when it will be extended until.

“It is for at least another week, but we want it extended for longer.

“This means there will be one less production worker being forced out, if it works. It will minimise the potential number of compulsory redundancies.”

The Unite rep also revealed an improvement on the severance package offered to all staff would be improved.

He said HUM will now offer every single worker, who chooses to leave voluntarily, will be offered a minimum pay-out of £2,000, regardless of how short a period they have worked at the South Marston plant.

No-one at HUM was available for comment before the Adver went to press.