NORMA is to place nearly 600 employees on part time work, and is also filing a request with the labour inspectorate to end the contracts of 52 workers.

The Estonian engineering group, majority-owned by Autoliv, said: “The termination of employment contracts and part-time working result from Russian and western European clients’ information on a temporary production halt in February and March 2009.”

The company added that it was difficult to foresee when the economic situation would stabilise but did see the production slowdown as temporary.