Nissan announces plans to cut 365 temporary jobs

Officials at Nissan's Wearside factory today revealed they were reducing the production of two models because of 'market conditions'

The Nissan plant in Sunderland
The Nissan plant in Sunderland

Hundreds of temporary jobs have been axed as production is scaled back at Nissan’s Wearside car plant.

The car giant announced 365 positions would be scrapped as they ceased 24-hour production on line two at the factory, which builds the Juke and Note.

A dip in demand was blamed for the decision which will see the head count duck to 6,700, although it is anticipated the number of workers affected will be less, due to staff turnover.

MPs, union officials and council leaders expressed their concern after officials revealed plans to reduce production at the Sunderland site due to “market conditions”.

It marks the end of a three-year period of recruitment at the factory during which the workforce swelled to well in excess of 7,000 workers. The cuts will be limited to staff on temporary contracts.

Coun Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Naturally, this is a disappointing announcement and we have great sympathy for those people who will lose their jobs. And clearly we now need to re-double our efforts to create more jobs in the city.

"Nissan has made considerable progress over the years and it remains the largest and most efficient vehicle manufacturing plant in Europe.”

Over the past two years Nissan has added more than 2,000 workers to the Wearside workforce in a £1bn drive to deliver record sales.

In January the company introduced a 24-hour operation across the site in a bid to deal with record-breaking production levels which saw 500,000 vehicles made over each of the past two years. But in a statement released today a Nissan spokesman said: “Market conditions do not require the plant to be at such levels beyond the summer, therefore line two will return to two-shift operations from mid-June.

“This year we anticipate production volumes of 500,000 in Sunderland for a third consecutive year, which will be another record for the UK car industry, as we remain on track to become the number one Asian brand in Europe.”

An urgent meeting was held between union officials and Nissan chiefs to discuss future plans after workers were told the news.

Steve Cason, regional officer for Unite the union, said: “It’s obviously very disappointing for everybody and we wish it hadn’t happened but it’s unavoidable. Nissan are still anticipating they will produce 500,000 cars this year so it’s another record years for the UK car industry and where hoping it will continue to pick up.”

Despite plans to shed 1,200 jobs in 2009, the past four years have seen the workforce in Sunderland rocket to record levels. It followed a 2012 announcement that 2,000 jobs would be created with £125m investment and a new model.

Union officials said it was an “uncertain period” but said Nissan officials had “studied the market place”. Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott said: “It is never good news when there is a reduction in staffing although those leaving are on temporary contracts which finish at the end of June. The Nissan plant will be producing as many cars after this as they were last autumn.”


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