Up to 140 jobs at Cummins engine factory in Darlington are under threat because of lost business in the former Soviet state of Uzbekistan.
Union sources at the Darlington factory, which employs 840 staff, said the jobs are at risk because an order to supply over 1,000 engines to Tashkent has been put on ice.
AEEU regional officer Gerry Hunter said: ‘The contract was originally designated for this year but it has now been put back.’ Up to 140 employees taken on by Cummins to meet the contract may lose their jobs, said Hunter.
Cummins is a major supplier of engines to the Tashkent firm, which builds tractors for use in the Uzbek cotton harvest.
Management in Darlington refused to comment but has told unions that it is making every effort to minimise the effects of the lost order.
The Darlington job fears follow a warning earlier this month from top Cummins management of a sales slump this quarter.
Group chairman and chief executive Jim Henderson said third-quarter sales would be 7 10% below those of last quarter. He said the fall was the result of turmoil in global markets and a downturn in the agricultural sector.