After previously vowing to save jobs at its Swindon factory with a 50-day halt to production, Honda is now encouraging its staff to take voluntary redundancy.
This coincides with the announcement on Friday that production at the factory will be 23 per cent lower this financial year than originally expected.
Honda has introduced two new redundancy schemes. Although the company has claimed that there is no target for people to sign up to the them, the union Unite which represents workers at the factory is concerned that the plan to shed 1,000 jobs will lead to compulsory redundancies.
A Unite spokesman said: “The position at Honda is very precarious.”
Workers can join the Associate Release Scheme, which offers a payout which is larger than the statutory minimum redundancy package. Another option is to take a six month sabbatical as part of Honda’s Personal Development Scheme.
Honda said in a statement, “Honda recognises that during these uncertain times, there may be some associates who would want to consider self development leave or other release options.”
Unite is worried about the consequences if the number of employees opting for these schemes is not enough:
“We know that if these or something very similar to these schemes are not successful in voluntarily reducing the associate headcount, then it brings nearer the day when the possibility of compulsion will be used.”