UPDATE 11.55am: A Ford worker says his life is gone after learning he is among 212 employees to be sacked at the company's Victorian plants.
As workers emerged from nerve-racking meetings with the company, even those who have kept their jobs said watching others get the sack was stressful.
Ford axed the jobs at its Geelong and Broadmeadows plants due to a slump in large-car sales and a reduction in production.
Both plants were idle on Friday as employees went into one-on-one meetings to learn who would be going home without a job.
The sacked assembly plant worker said he had been at the car company for 10 and a half years.
"Yeah, (it's a) shock, I'm young and fit,” the worker, who didn't want to be named, told AAP.
"Life's gone, you know.
"I feel bad, what can you do, you know?"
With an unemployed wife and a 21-year-old daughter, the man said the sacking was unfair and no reason was given.
Shop floor worker Ronald Landverde said the sackings weighed on everyone.
"People we thought were safe, they won't be there on Monday,” he said as he waited anxiously for his meeting with management
."The morale is down.
"It's hard to get another job."
Ford announced in July it would axe 440 jobs at the two plants by November. Redeployments, in-house transfers and 118 voluntary redundancies couldn't make up the numbers and 212 workers still had to go.
Ford Australia president and chief executive Bob Graziano said it was a difficult day for all Ford employees.
"Although we have taken every possible step to find redeployment opportunities within other areas of our business and offered redundancies on a voluntary basis first, it has proven necessary to implement compulsory redundancies as well,” he said in a statement.
Mr Graziano said the action was necessary to structure the business in line with demand and to remain as efficient as possible for the future of the remaining 2900 employees.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spokesman Dave Smith says he is satisfied with how the car maker has handled the difficult process.
He said all levels of government should do more to support automotive jobs.
The company received a $103 million assistance package from the state and federal governments and its US parent company in January this year.
At the time, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the money would create 300 jobs.
But Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said on Friday that the government assistance had been ineffective and had failed to protect jobs.
"Sadly, we seem to have yet another situation where the prime minister has been spending money but not getting the kind of result that the Australian people are entitled to expect,” he said.