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Worker airs worry at Honda job losses
8:00am Monday 21st January 2013 in News
The employee said he felt betrayed after turning down a more generous redundancy offer four years ago than he stands to receive now.
The Japanese firm is axing 800 jobs at the plant and is in negotiations with staff organisations and trade unions over the details.
A letter sent by the company to staff said years of service would be taken into account, along with other factors, such as performance, time keeping and disciplinary records.
But the worker, who has been employed at the plant for almost two decades, claimed permanent associates would be selected over cheaper temporary workers.“All the permanent staff feel really let down by the company,” he said.
“We have stayed loyal to Honda and chose not to leave in the past when money was offered on the release programme.
“We ended up owing hours to the company and worked weekends to pay them back.
“But we all stayed committed. Now Honda have given people on one-year contracts the chance of staying over permanent staff.”
The 53-year-old man, who asked not to be named, said he did not believe that years of service would be one of a number of factors considered when the redundancies were made in April.
“We feel Honda will keep on associates on yearly contracts because they are only on £9.40 an hour compared to permanent staff, who are on £12.18,” he said.
“This will save Honda roughly £112 a week on every permanent associate that they manage to get rid of and they will also save on pensions and be able to deduct hours from an associate’s redundancy if he still owes them to the company.”
The worker, who is married with three children, painted a bleak picture of future prospects for staff who are made to leave.
“Morale is terrible as nobody knows who is going to made redundant,” he said.
“In my section, there are six permanent and six associates on yearly rolling contracts, and it could be the temporary staff who stay.
“I was offered £20,000 under the release programme four years ago, I stayed and worked hard to help the company out of difficulties.
“Now I will only get between £10,000 and £12,000.”
A spokesman for Honda expressed sympathy with the worker and acknowledged it was a difficult time for associates. He said: “We have 300 temporary associates and they were always scheduled to leave at the end of March. “There are no plans to take on any temporary associates and replace permanent staff.”
The spokesman added that the decision to accept the financial packages four years ago was taken by every associate at the time and the current redundancy pay-offs had yet to be finalised with a consultation period still taking place.