Nissan cuts posts at its Sunderland plant

Nissan is cutting jobs at its Sunderland factory.

The firm confirmed today that it has started discussions with employees, aimed at reducing the number of permanent salaried positions at the plant.

Nissan is reducing the number of permanent salaried positions at its Sunderland plant

Nissan is reducing the number of permanent salaried positions at its Sunderland plant

The move comes as the sale of new diesel cars continues to fall across the industry.

Jaguar Land Rover announced this week that it is axing around 1,000 agency staff jobs at its plant in Solihull in response to the decline.

Nissan emphasised that today's cuts are in response to an anticipated short-term downturn in work: "We are transitioning to a new range of powertrains over the next year," said a company statement.

"As we make the operational changes required to support this, we will be managing a planned short-term reduction in powertrain supply and plant volumes at NMUK in line with our 2018 Business Plan.

"We are now discussing these operational changes with our employees."

The firm has declined to say how many job losses are planned.

The Echo understands that Nissan hopes to manage the cuts through voluntary departures, with long-serving staff offered a severance package and the chance to retrain for a new role outside the company.

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson, whose constituency covers the plant, said: "I am disappointed to hear today that jobs at Nissan will be lost due to a slight dip in demand for vehicles currently being produced.

"I appreciate that many people will be concerned by this announcement, but I have sought assurances from Nissan that this situation has nothing to do with Brexit.

"I hope that this decision, although unfortunate, will allow Nissan to increase their production long-term and thus provide more jobs to our local area in the future."

The Japanese firm employs more than 7,000 people at its Sunderland plant and supports almost 30,000 more in its supply chain, the vast majority of which is based in the North East.

Nissan produces the best-selling Qashqai and Juke, as well, as the Q30 and QX30 for the firm's prestige Infiniti range and the all-electric Leaf.

The car giant announced in October 2016 that it was investing in production of new Qashqai and X-Trail models at Sunderland after receiving Government assurances that EU withdrawal would not affect the plant's competitiveness.

But chief executive Carlos Ghosn later said the company would 're-evaluate the situation' once the final deal is concluded

Senior vice-president Colin Lawther told the House of Commons International Trade Committee in February last year the firm would 'constantly review' its decision to build two new models on Wearside in the light of any material changes to its ability to trade with the remaining EU.