Thousands of Jaguar Land Rover employees will be without work for a week as the firm halts production as it prepares for disruption around Brexit.
Staff members at Solihull, Wolverhampton and Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands and Halewood on Merseyside will be affected by the scheduled week-long closure, starting today.
The pause in production was agreed in January and was set to coincide with the original Brexit date of March 29.
It will be followed by another week off which was scheduled for Easter.
Mick Graham, Unite’s convenor at Solihull, said: “We had to make some plans to protect the business as best we could and we started talking about this in January.
“We knew we had to take reactive action to mitigate the potential effect of a bad Brexit or no-deal Brexit.
“Suppliers need notice to get their parts across to us... It was a prudent thing to do.”
A production line worker at the Castle Bromwich plant told Birmingham Live that morale had hit “rock bottom”.
“Any hope anybody had of a future has disappeared now.”
The car manufacturer has warned that crashing out of the European Union without a deal could cost the firm £1.2 billion in profit a year.
The firm also announced in January that it would be cutting 4,500 of its nearly 40,000-strong workforce. Most jobs will be lost in the UK.
It follows 1,500 jobs lost at the manufacturer in 2018.