CONVINCING prospective employers the workers leaving Honda perform better than their appraisals suggest is one of the challenges facing Task Force project manager Jill Annal.

The Task Force, made up of representatives from a variety of agencies and organisations, plus the two Swindon MPs, was created to help staff under threat of redundancy at Honda make decisions on their futures.

The Task Force moved into temporary space at the HUM campus last week as it took its first steps towards supporting the 1,837 production associates at risk of losing their jobs.

HUM has not allowed the top-performing 30 per cent of its associates the chance to leave the business voluntarily through its Associate Release Programme.

Jill said it is her mission to make it clear that those with poorer appraisals are simply the victims of an exceptionally high standard of assessment at the Japanese car giant.

“You have to be good to stay here,” she said. “As is the case with many companies dealing with redundancies, they want to keep their best workers and have made arrangements for that.

“It makes it difficult for us to message that decision out to potential employers because on first look it seems as if only poor performers are leaving Honda voluntarily, when that is far from case.

“It has to be clear that Honda’s appraisal process is of a high standard and you have to be exceptional at your job to score a good or better score.

“Those being offered the chance to apply for voluntary redundancy are highly-skilled, good workers.”

Yesterday and last Friday the Task Force was at the campus to answer questions and offer advice to any workers who might be affected by HUM’s decision to axe 500 jobs.

The two days of activity will be followed by four weeks of daily workshops with staff from April 22, when associates begin to hear whether their application toleave has been accepted.

The period of support will culminate in a jobs fair at Stanton House - ironically owned by Honda - on Friday, May 23 – the day HUM releases its 500 staff.

Jill expects the Task Force will be turning away companies looking to recruit Honda workers at the jobs fair by the time the event comes around, such is in the interest.

Twelve firms have already listed their interest with the Task Force, with 200 vacancies already made available.