Car giant Ford said Thursday it would cut up to 850 jobs at British plants by May and review this year's pay deal because of the "serious economic situation."
The announcement brought an angry response from trade unions who said industrial action would be an "option" if the plans went ahead.
The US company, which employs 12,900 people in Britain, said that "unprecedented circumstances" were behind the decision to review this year's agreed pay rise of a 5.2 percent.
But the Unite trade union described the plans as "completely unacceptable" and urged Ford to reconsider the decision.
"Ford has today reached a new low in corporate integrity. While their executives pay themselves handsomely and their European profits alone totalled $1.06 billion in 2007/2008, they are using the challenging global circumstances to cut the jobs and pay of the workers who helped make them these massive profits," it said.