Job cuts announced at Nissan

Bosses at Nissan’s Sunderland car plant have announced they are axing 1,200 jobs, around a quarter of the workforce.

A Nissan worker told The Socialist that fears of job cuts had been “bubbling around” for a few months, and “the mood at Nissan is very sombre”. “They want older workers to leave with a redundancy offer of around £10,000 – but there are no jobs to go to”.

He went on to say that the Sunderland car plant has been a “gold mine for Nissan”. The factory is reported as being Britain’s biggest car manufacturer, producing one in five British-made cars.

There are fears in the north east that the Nissan redundancies will only be the tip of the iceberg. It has been estimated that for every Nissan job that goes another three will follow in Nissan’s supply chain.

But the regional secretary of the car workers’ union Unite is reported in the Independent as saying, on the issue of calling for a bailout: “One firm can’t ask for one; every firm would want one”!

The Nissan worker we spoke to talked about the action being taken by Spanish Nissan workers to save their jobs. In October around 10,000 marched through the streets of Barcelona in protest at planned job cuts. Certainly if there is no fight back from Unite, the car workers in Sunderland will be facing a bleak future.

Nissan has recently been given £6.2 million by the government. This is to secure jobs in the production of a new model which is to replace the Micra, whose production is being moved to India. If Nissan is now saying it cannot guarantee workers’ jobs, Unite should demand that the plant should be nationalised under democratic workers’ control.

Car industry in crisis national meeting

The National Shop Stewards Network is organising a meeting for car workers and those in ancillary industries:

Saturday 14 February 2009, 12-4pm,

The Birmingham and Midland Institute,

Margaret Street, Birmingham B3 3BS

Please encourage your union branch/workplace to sponsor this meeting and send delegates (£5 per delegate or visitor).

See also: or PO Box 58262, London N1P 1ET.