Union leaders vowed today to fight compulsory redundancies after car manufacturer Honda announced 800 job losses at its Swindon plant.
Unite described the shock announcement as a "hammer blow" to the country's manufacturing industry and the local economy.
The union said that the decision actually affected more than 1,100 jobs as the Japanese firm had already announced 325 temporary workers redundant.
The company blames falling sales in Europe.
Jobs facing the axe include 360 production workers and 420 managers, plus the temporary workers.
Honda bosses told Unite the news on Thursday and the union met management today.
Unite national officer Tony Murphy said: "This is a hammer blow to UK manufacturing and to Swindon where Honda is a major employer.
"The reality is that over 1,000 jobs are going at Honda. It's a tragedy for our members and their families.
"There's no doubt these cuts will have a significant knock-on impact on the supply chain and on local shops and services. That is why we intend to save as many jobs as possible.
"Unite will oppose any compulsory job losses. We expect Honda to negotiate meaningfully with the union in order to mitigate the impact of these cuts."
Honda said it would try to avoid compulsory redundancies. But the company said it wanted to implement the job losses by spring.
Honda blames the cuts on a slowdown in demand from the European mainland - particularly Spain, Italy and Greece - but Honda's sales in Britain remain strong. Swindon's workers turned out 150,000 cars last year though the plant has an annual capacity of 250,000.
Honda has been manufacturing cars in Britain since 1992 and the redundancies are the first to be attempted by the company.
The government's Department of Business, Innovation and Skills described Britain's automotive industry as "a major success story for the UK."