A cooker factory in County Durham is to close with the loss of 500 jobs, it has been confirmed.
The plant is expected to close towards the end of 2008
Production at the Electrolux site in Spennymoor, a major employer in the town, will be moved to Poland.
The plant has been making a loss for the past few years and is too uncompetitive, said the company.
It is the worst possible outcome for workers, who had hoped that up to 300 jobs could be saved following meetings with management earlier this week.
Speaking after the announcement, Jeff Morland, North East divisional officer for the Unite union, said: "I'm standing in the canteen with a lot of our members and obviously there is a lot of disappointment, fear and some anger.
"It could not have happened at a worse time and I think there will be the ghost of a few Christmases past rattling around here over the weekend.
"There is a lot to take in for families and this is the worst possible Christmas present."
Mr Morland called on the government to do more to protect British manufacturing.
In June 2005, Electrolux invested £7m in a new line of cookers at the Spennymoor site.
But intense worldwide competition has prompted an urgent review of its operations, according to the firm.
A company spokesman said: "Following a thorough investigation about the future viability of production at the factory in Spennymoor, Electrolux has decided to discontinue production at the plant.
"To improve competitiveness some production will be phased out altogether while some production will be moved to the Electrolux plant in Poland."
In 2005, regional development agency One NorthEast agreed to plough £1.6m into the plant, in an effort to retain manufacturing jobs in County Durham.
An associated warehouse, employing 40 people, is not affected.
No exact date has been set for the closure of the plant, thought to be towards the end of 2008.