Car maker Honda has confirmed it is curbing production at its Swindon plant during April and May to save costs amid the economic downturn.
A collapse in global sales had already prompted the manufacturer to stop production during February and March.
Workers at the plant will, on average, receive about 80% of their pay, but they will owe the time back to Honda when the plant reopens. Honda employs 4,200 people in the UK and exports the Civic to 60 countries worldwide.
“Our members are stunned and worried about what happens next,” said local Unite union officer Jim D’Avila.
The move follows grave concern about job security in the automotive industry.
At the beginning of the year, Nissan announce plans to cut about 1,200 jobs in response to falling customer demand for new cars during the recession. The car manufacturer said it was taking the action “to protect the long-term viability of its manufacturing operations” in Sunderland. The plant, which opened in 1986, employs about 4,900 workers.
At the end of 2008, Japanese car maker Toyota sparked fears of hundreds of job losses at its UK factories after it went into the red for the first time in decades. It admitted that redundancies may be necessary for some of its 4,000 staff at the manufacturing plant in Derbyshire, and 600 at its engine factory in Wales.
In the US, the government agreed to provide $17.4bn in loans to help troubled carmakers General Motors and Chrysler avoid bankruptcy.