Productivity in labour-intensive manufacturing shopfloors is highly influenced by availability and conditions of skilled workers. As operations intensify, the need for the right people at the right time performing the right job becomes increasingly important in order to respond rapidly to any disturbances caused by changing customer demands or other factors in the manufacturing environment. In this paper, a flexible workforce allocation model is proposed and presented in the context of holonic manufacturing system. The model is designed to respond to changes and disturbances in the availability of the workforce. Data from a real manufacturing shopfloor are used to test the model through a database system development and discrete-event simulation platform. The results show that the workforce allocation suggested by the holonic model in this paper is better able to respond to workforce change and disturbance than the company's conventional experience-based, decision-making process.