The leader of one of the country's biggest trade unions presented MPs with "irrefutable proof" last night that weak labour laws are leading to the demise of the British car industry.
Amicus general secretary Derek Simpson said the loss of jobs at Peugeot's Ryton plant, sports car maker TVR at Blackpool and the expected axing of 1,000 jobs at the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port were linked to the ease with which employers could sack workers in this country.
The move came ahead of an expected announcement by General Motors that 1,000 jobs will be lost at its Vauxhall site in Ellesmere Port under plans to cut production of the Astra.
Chancellor Gordon Brown and Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling are expected to visit the Mersey-side plant today when details of the redundancies are to be announced.
Union officials held talks on Monday with GM bosses in Germany, later describing the discussions as "difficult".
Details of the cutback are to be given to the workforce today - when new unemployment figures for the country will be published. Mr Simpson said: "Britain has highly skilled workers and the most productive plants as well as the biggest market for motor vehicles.
"Yet UK workers are the first to be laid off because weak UK labour laws are being exploited by employers.
"The Government must take action to protect British manufacturing employment. Job protection similar to that enjoyed by workers in France would give British employees the opportunity to compete for investment and work."
Amicus said its research showed that when manufacturing workers were made redundant they rarely found another comparable job.
Two thirds did not find a job within a year and of those who did find work many were on 40 per cent lower pay.
More than one million manufacturing jobs have been lost since Labour came to power in 1997. The union wants to launch a campaign in the motor industry and has already warned Vauxhall it will end its #8 million contract with the company and deal with a rival if it makes significant job losses at Ellesmere Port. David Malpass, senior manager of the automotive supply chain initiative Accelerate, said some Midland suppliers could be affected by a reduction in Astra volumes.