Nissan carmaker announces drastic job cuts at British plant
Japanese carmaker Nissan Thursday announced major job cuts at a plant in north-east England which accounts for the bulk of British car exports, dpa reported.
Nissan said 1,200 jobs would go at its plant in Sunderland, near Newcastle, which employs around 5,000 workers and is one of the biggest employers in the region.
The Nissan plant is Britain's largest car exporter, selling 80 per cent of its cars abroad. It was opened to great fanfare during the rule of Conservative ex-prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 1986.
Nissan said the reduction in the workforce was a result of the economic slowdown which had led to a slump in car sales.
"Like all manufacturers, Sunderland plant is currently operating in extraordinary circumstances not of our making. It is essential we take the right action now to ensure we are in a strong and viable position once business conditions return to normal," said Trevor Mann, Nissan's senior vice president for manufacturing, Europe.
The cuts followed repeated pleas for government aid from car manufacturers in Britain, including luxury brand Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by India's Tata group.
Earlier this year, Nissan said that, from 2010, production of its popular Micra model will be moved to a new factory in India, which is being built with French partner Renault.
Nissan sold 66,336 new cars in Britain in 2008 - only 0.14 per cent fewer than in 2007. But sales for December, 2008, fell by 26.68 per cent compared with the same month in 2007.