Honda is to put a third of its Swindon workforce on a four-day week in the run up to Christmas, blaming the economic situation in Europe for its decision.
Workers on the new Civic and Jazz lines at the South Marston plant will go onto a four-day week in September, a three-day week in October and then a four-day week in November and December.
The Japanese car manufacturer reduced working hours in April and November last year after flooding in Thailand disrupted supplies. In 2009 the plant closed for four months and all production was halted as the global financial crisis put the brakes on car sales across the world. The workforce was put on half pay.
The plant employs 3,500 people at the the massive South Marston complex where it builds the Civic, Jazz and CR-V 4X. It also makes engines on the site.
A Honda spokesman said staff would not lose out as they are employed on flexible contracts that guarantees they are paid for a 37-hour week.
Jim D'Avila, regional officer for the Unite union, said: "The recession is biting deep and big successful companies like Honda are struggling to maintain a sensible level of production to retain everyone's employment. Something governmental has to happen otherwise people's jobs are going to be at risk long-term."
Honda recently took on an extra 500 new workers to build the new Civic at the Swindon plant. Most of the plant's output is exported to Europe.