Nissan has announced it is to cut about a quarter of the workforce at its Sunderland plant.
That equates to around 1200 jobs at the factory, which opened in 1986. Around 400 of the job losses will be staff on temporary contracts.
Sunderland plant boss Trevor Mann said: 'It is essential we take the right action now to ensure we are in a strong and viable position once business conditions return to normal.'
Derek Simpson, of the Unite workers union, said: 'This is devastating news for the workers and their families.
'Today's announcement shows just how serious Britain's economic difficulties are.
'Unite will be doing everything possible to minimise compulsory redundancies and it is absolutely crucial that these workers' skills are not lost.'