I3 engine production at a Brazilian Ford plant

I3 engine production at a Brazilian Ford plant

Workers at a Ford plant in Brazil began an open-ended strike on 10 September to protest job cuts, adding to labour tensions that have rattled the nation's auto industry in the midst of its worst crisis in nearly 20 years.

The local metalworkers union told Reuters about 4,300 employees at Ford's Sao Bernardo do Campo plant, which makes trucks and compact passenger cars, went on strike after the company sent pink slips to around 200 workers.

A Ford representative said the automaker had to reduce its workforce at the factory due to excess capacity in the face of slumping demand but the company did not confirm the extent of the layoffs.

Sales of new passenger vehicles have fallen more than 20% so far in 2015 and heavy truck sales are down nearly 45% due to tighter credit, relentless inflation and a sharp economic recession.

In August, General Motors and Daimler announced plans to cut 800 and 1,500 jobs from their respective Brazilian plants before backing off in the face of stiff union resistance.