Car workers at Ford's biggest UK plant have staged an unofficial walk-out ahead of a union meeting to discuss opposition to the planned ending of vehicle production at the factory.

The unofficial action by assembly workers at the Dagenham plant in Essex is expected to last for two hours.

Shop stewards from the plant are due to meet national union officials to discuss their next move in a campaign aimed at persuading Ford to reverse its decision to end production of the Fiesta in early 2002.

It was not immediately known if the walk-out had seriously affected production.

Some union officials have been reporting increased anger at the factory in recent months over Ford's decision to stop producing cars.

A Ford spokesman confirmed that some workers had taken unofficial action.

"We are expecting our employees to return to work at the earliest opportunity," he said.