SAO PAULO (Reuters) -- Workers at a Ford Motor Co. plant in Brazil began an open-ended strike on Thursday to protest job cuts, adding to labor tensions that have rattled the country's auto industry in the midst of its worst crisis in nearly two decades.
The local metalworkers union said about 4,300 employees at Ford's Sao Bernardo do Campo plant, which makes trucks and compact passenger cars, went on strike after the company sent pink slips to some 200 workers.
A Ford representative said the automaker had to reduce its workforce at the factory due to excess capacity in the face of slumping demand, but the company did not confirm the extent of the layoffs.
New passenger vehicle sales have fallen more than 20 percent so far this year and heavy truck sales are down nearly 45 percent due to tighter credit, relentless inflation and a sharp economic recession.
General Motors and Daimler announced plans to cut 800 and 1,500 jobs from their respective Brazilian plants last month before backing off in the face of stiff union resistance.