About 200 jobs are set to be axed at the Qinetiq defence and security plant in Worcestershire, a union claimed yesterday.
And the claims came as another union warned that the "chill winds of recession" would be hitting the manufacturing sector this year, with new evidence of faltering demand causing job losses.
The Prospect union claimed about 200 jobs would be lost at the Qinetiq site on Poolbrook Road, Malvern, with approximately 200 cuts made around the country by the defence firm.
It said the company should look to make the job losses voluntary for staff.
National secretary David Luxton said: "The steps that Prospect are taking we believe will help us minimise compulsory redundancies."
But Qinetiq denied the claims, saying there were no specific sites earmarked for its proposed job losses.
In a statement it said: "Qinetiq is undergoing a restructuring of its UK business that involves redundancies of up to 400 people. "Job roles are being looked at rather than particular sites."
Qinetiq announced the job losses last November as part of plans to overhaul its UK-focused Europe, Middle East and Africa division into four larger businesses by this summer.
The restructuring, intended to boost the d ivision's operating profits by £10 million a year, will see duplicated administrative and backroom posts culled.
Qinetiq's decision to cut the 400 staff came on the back of a year of high profits for the firm, which was floated last year by the Ministry of Defence.
And a leading union said more manufacturing job losses could be on the way, with the global economic downturn leading to a loss of demand.
The GMB said it was starting to see numbers of redundancies rise in many manufacturing sectors, including engineering, building materials, furniture, paint and others.
GMB general secretary Paul Kenny warned that if manufacturing was hit too badly by the effects of the recession, the industry could face "decimation".
He added: "We are seeing evidence of the early signs of demand faltering particularly in sectors dealing directly with consumers. The chill winds of recession are blowing in our direction.
"It will be some time before these early warnings are picked up in the official statistics, so it is not a lot of good for politicians to repeat parrot fashion that official statistics show that the garden is rosy.
"If action is not taken now to avoid a recession the economic damage will be felt in households across the country but this damage will add up to political danger for the Government.
"The current high level of interest rates is not helping and the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee needs to give higher priority to avoiding a recession."
Research by the GMB showed there were 3.5 million manufacturing jobs in the UK, accounting for 13 per cent of total employment.
The West Midlands was one of the most important manufacturing regions, with 415,500 people employed in the sector.
The South East topped the manufacturing league with 460,000 jobs, followed by the North West (430,000), West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside (340,000) and East Midlands (324,000).