Task force jobs hope for Honda cast offs
5:30am Monday 19th May 2014 in By Beren Cross, @BerenCross
SHOCKED and upset workers leaving Honda by the “harsh process” of compulsory redundancy are being picked up and dusted off ahead of a specially-organised jobs fair on Friday.
Jill Annal, project manager of the task force created to support redundant production associates at Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM), said her team is working to keep spirits high in those who have been selected as one of the 99 compulsory redundancies at Highworth Road.
Since last Monday, when HUM announced how many associates would leave the business compulsorily as a part of their wider cuts, the task force has faced new challenges to those tackled with those who departed voluntarily.
Mrs Annal said: “I suppose yes, there’s a different challenge. People who volunteer see it as an opportunity. All of them will have some sort of plan.
“The people who have been made redundant compulsorily go through that shock process.
“We have a team of people at Honda dealing with all of those individuals. We want to pick them up straight afterwards.
“In terms of outlook there’s a wide variety. Some are pragmatic whilst others are clearly quite upset.
“What we have been able to do, is offer them a one-to-one and prepare them for the jobs fair.
“I have asked people how they feel about the shock in that situation and many said they feel it could’ve been them when they see colleagues going.
“The factory has been affected this time around. It’s always been a question of a voluntary followed by a compulsory situation.
“It’s a harsh process: ‘why did they pick me rather than him or her?’”
The task force is aiming to recruit 18 employers with vacancies for the fair at Stanton House Hotel, with several already confirmed with more than enough vacancies to cater to those associates Jill believes will attend.
Network Rail, Post Office and the British Army are three of those already confirmed to attend. The latter is seeking out highly-skilled workers for a Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) unit it is setting up in the town.
Of the 300 permanent staff leaving HUM, Mrs Annal said she expected one-third to attend the fair, for which she said the fair would provide more than enough opportunities to keep them away from Jobcentre Plus.
She said: “It’s not going to be a hard sell. These businesses are coming because they want to be there.
“It already starts on a positive step as far as we are concerned.
“We are limiting the impact on things, like the number of people who claim benefits after these redundancies.
“We will monitor those coming through the Jobcentre doors. To keep that number as low as possible, that was the aim of the task force.”