Unite demands job protection at Nissan's Sunderland plant as company announces closure of Barcelona site

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Unite the Union is calling on Nissan to protect jobs at the company’s Sunderland plant as the car giant announces the closure of its site in Barcelona.

The Japanese car manufacturing firm announced on Thursday, May 28 that the Spanish facility will close; a move reportedly leading to the loss of around 2,800 jobs.

But the closure solidifies the future of Nissan’s Sunderland site – the biggest car manufacturing plant in the UK.

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Company bosses say Nissan will now focus on reducing costs and bringing down the number of cars in its range, putting emphasis on electric vehicles, SUVs and crossovers as it announced large losses for 2019.

Sunderland's Nissan plantSunderland's Nissan plant
Sunderland's Nissan plant

But union Unite has stressed that the firm’s efficiency savings must not include ‘attacks on jobs, terms and conditions or other benefits’ – and added that it is ‘seeking assurances’ that jobs at the Sunderland site will not be affected.

Unite is also calling for a Government-led and industry-wide recovery plan to prevent skills and jobs being lost.

Steve Bush, Unite’s national officer for automotive, said on Thursday: "Unite continues to push for sector level assistance from government to support the transition of our world class automotive industry in these unprecedented times.

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“But that does not mean we will stand by as companies discuss detrimental measures in reaction to immediate and short-term challenges.

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“We are seeking clear assurances from Nissan that the cost cutting measures spoken about will not impact on our members’ jobs, terms and conditions or other benefits at Europe’s most efficient plant, Sunderland.

“We have made it clear to Nissan that any attempt to do this will be fought by the union and a loyal, world class workforce.

“There needs to be a full consultation with Unite to ensure that any rationalisation or restructuring of the business is done in a way that protects jobs and the financial security of our members as well as the long-term future of the plant.

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“The loss of the jobs of our Spanish colleagues is a regrettable reminder that automotive manufacturing is facing tremendous challenges. We send our solidarity to our colleagues in Barcelona and want to assure them that we will support all their efforts to defend their jobs.”

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