Boris Johnson claims Nissan job cuts will have 'really no impact’ on Sunderland

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told MPs he believes the latest round of Nissan job cuts will have ‘really no impact’ on the Sunderland plant.

By Kevin Clark
Thursday, 25 July, 2019, 17:02

The Japanese firm announced today, Thursday, July 25, that it is axing 12,500 jobs - around nine per cent of its global workforce - as well as reducing global production capacity.

No details were given of which plants will be affected, but the factory in Sunderland is not expected to be targeted.

A presentation on the company website said more than 6,400 jobs would be eliminated in eight unspecified locations by the end of this fiscal year, with another 6,100 during the 2022 fiscal year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson replies to Bridget Phillipson

Although CEO Hiroto Saikawa did not identify which plants would be affected, he said the firm was targeting loss-making facilities outside Japan which were created for compact vehicles and/or as part of the company’s previous Mid-Term Plan.

Sunderland currently builds the successful electric Leaf and will launch a new version of the Juke in September. A teaser image of the new car has just been released.

Nissan is also due to build a next generation version of the Qashqai at the Sunderland plant.

Mr Johnson was challenged by Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson on his first day at the dispatch box.

Bridget Phillipson challenges Boris Johnson on Nissan in the Commons today

“Following today’s deeply troubling news from Nissan, has the Prime Minister spoken to the company about what impact this may have in Sunderland?” she asked.

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“And what reassurance can he really offer to the tens of thousands in Sunderland and across the North East whose jobs and livelihoods depend on Nissan’s continued success?”

The Prime Minister replied: “The automotive sector globally is suffering a contraction as a result partly of the diesel crisis and the move to EVs and what is happening with demand in China, that is a factor.

“There is, as far as I know, really no impact in Sunderland but I draw her attention again to the massive investments that are nonetheless happening in our country, in Oxford, in Birmingham, world-beating companies investing in British technology.

The latest teaser image of the new Juke

“It is worth billions of pounds and we should salute it.”

Speaking afterwards, Ms Phillipson said: “While the details of this decision remain unclear, it is clearly a very concerning development.

“Workers at Nissan and many more in the supply chain understandably want clarity, which is why I pressed the Prime Minister this morning on whether he had spoken with Nissan about the impact it might have in Sunderland.

“Disappointingly, he failed to properly answer the question.

“The incredible workforce and strength of the plant have long put us at an advantage, but the car industry is going through a very challenging period.

“Uncertainty surrounding Brexit is doing little to help matters – and the prospect of no deal only heightens the threat to jobs and livelihoods on Wearside.”