About 150 workers from Delphi's autoparts factory in Puerto Real, Southern Spain, on Monday launched a one-week march to protest plans to shut the factory and dismiss over 3,000 workers.

They will reach the wine city of Jerez this evening and plan days of walks across the Andalusia region until they reach Seville government headquarters on Saturday.

The action follows a general strike on 18 April which saw "hundreds of thousands" in Spain's Cadiz province (home to Puerto Real) decry the US component giant's decision to shut the plant, billed as its biggest in Europe.

There have been many other news-making industrial actions since Delphi announced the plan three months ago.

Delphi's workers' committee chief Antonio Pina said the company and the Andalusia government will present a viability plan for the factory later this week.

However, he doubts anything good will come out of it.

"We don't expect Delphi or the government to do anything to resolve this conflict for some time," Pina said. "Delphi doesn't want to pay for anything or anybody. It just wants to exit Spain and Europe and shift manufacturing to Asia and the government needs time to figure out what to do."

Despite this, the government is said to be close to brokering a deal with a metals company to take over the site and absorb its workers, Pina said.

However, "These are only empty talks" that could fall through, he said. "We have nothing on paper yet."

Officials at Delphi, which is operating under bankruptcy protection in Spain, could not be reached for comment.

The company has said it needs to shut Puerto Real because it's not profitable.

If Andalusia does not broker a solution to the crisis and workers are not compensated, the latter will start to lock themselves up at the site, Pina threatened.

"We are not going to leave the factory or its machines until we have the compensation we deserve so expect there to be lock-ups," he said.

The Puerto Real factory supplies components for Volvo, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Mercedes and Kia. It employs 1,500 permanent workers and 2,000 contractors, according to Pina.

Ivan Castano