Car workers union Amicus claims to have halted "excessive overtime" at Honda in an "industrial relations breakthrough" for 4,000 workers at the Swindon plant which builds Civic and CR-V models for UK and export markets.

The union said overtime at Honda is contractual and has previously only been limited to comply with the 48 hour work week maximum, permitted under the European Union's Working Time Directive.

"This has regularly resulted in 'excessive' compulsory overtime at the end of the late shift for tired and angry staff," the union said in a statement.

Amicus said it had secured an agreement for the first time in the history of Honda in Swindon that has 'changed company policy' after a year-long campaign to highlight the unpopularity of this practice. Amicus is recommending members endorse the new negotiated settlement in a ballot which is under way.

A new 'overtime policy and procedure' restricts compulsory production overtime to just one hour, with provisions for this to be relaxed for the launch of new models.

Jim D'Avila, Amicus regional officer said: "This is a breakthrough that bodes well for future relations between Amicus and Honda. Only 12 months ago Honda were saying Amicus was in breach of contract, now Honda are hailing the deal as a breakthrough."