STAFF at the Dyson factory in Malmesbury have been told that a third of all jobs in the research and development department are under review and up to 64 people could lose their jobs.

The bombshell was delivered by Dyson bosses Martin McCourt and Shaun Robinson to the staff in the research and development department.

Staff had no idea of the cuts until they received a letter on Friday morning at work asking them to attend a meeting at the factory at 2.30pm. They were told 113 jobs in the department, which at present has more than 300 staff, are under review. If the proposals are carried out 64 jobs will be axed.

A Dyson employee in the research and development department said: "We were told that 64 are going to be made redundant. We were told it was not about money or the current economic climate but about 'putting resources more effectively in more appropriate areas'.

"The mood among the staff was very sombre, people were stood there in shock. Grown men were so close to breaking down in tears.

“I am devastated. We are all worried about our families and our mortgages.

“I personally think this is due to the global economic crisis and I think the job losses here will result in work being outsourced to Malaysia and China.

“But Dyson is still making huge amounts of profits. Last year we had record profits and our profit margins now are the same or slightly higher.” The employee said that earlier this year 18 members of staff at the research and development department in Malmesbury were made redundant.

Dyson have told the staff that a 30-day consultation on the latest round of job losses will start on October 30.

The employee said: “It means that half of us will have lost our jobs by Christmas. We were looking forward to our Christmas bonuses, last year it was £1,000.”

The research and development department works mainly on Dyson’s vacuum cleaners.

The department has been divided into different areas for the purposes of making the redundancies - these are administration, technicians, electronics and support services.

A Dyson spokesman said: “We’re ceasing a number of projects currently under way in China.

“Regrettably this means the loss of 78 roles in China and has the possible knock-on effect of 64 support role redundancies in the UK.

“Malmesbury continues to be our global headquarters and invention base, where we employ 1,200 people.”