More than 12,000 employees at Volkswagen‘s largest factory in Brazil stopped working for part of the day on Tuesday to protest the car maker’s decision to cut nearly 4,000 jobs, Reuters reported.

A union spokeswoman told the news agency some 8,000 employees on the morning shift at VW’s Anchieta plant had walked out for four hours as 1,932 workers handed their letters of dismissal back to the German car maker’s human resources department.

Another 4,500 workers on the afternoon shift walked out, adding another three hours to the mini-strike by the time it finished at 6 p.m. (2100 GMT), the report added.

Although the workers’ union has opted not to go an a general strike, it has vowed to stage a different kind of protest every day. “Every day is going to be a surprise,” the spokeswoman told Reuters.

Reuters noted that VW last month said it would cut 3,933 jobs across Brazil as part of a wider restructuring of its operations in the Latin American country, where dismal demand has thrust the whole motor industry into one of its worst crises ever.

The cuts represent 16% of a Brazilian work force of 25,000, the report said.
Reuters noted that, already under pressure as the general unemployment rate rises, the new left-leaning government on Tuesday unveiled tax cuts to stimulate car demand and avoid future layoffs.

Under VW’s proposal, the workers who get cut will be transferred to another VW company that will retrain them and try to place them in the job market until the end of 2006, which is when their contracts with the unions will expire, Reuters said.

Unions have been opposed to the plan, telling Reuters VW has promised them job stability at their plants until the end of 2006.