120 jobs under threat at Envision electric car battery plant

Dozens of jobs are under threat at a Wearside plant manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles.

Friday, 5th June 2020, 11:51 am
Updated Friday, 5th June 2020, 1:01 pm

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Unions say more than 100 jobs are at risk
Unions say more than 100 jobs are at risk

Chinese engineering firm Envision AESC has confirmed it is looking to cut jobs at its site next to Nissan’s Sunderland factory.

The factory produces the lithium-ion batteries which power vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf.

The firm has not said how many posts are under threat but unions say they believe as much as around a third of the 300-plus workforce could be at risk.

The plant has been in operation since 2013

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An Envision AESC spokesman confirmed the firm was opening talks with staff over job losses: “Due to the global economic stagnation caused by the new coronavirus, demand across the automotive sector has decreased significantly.

“As a result, it is necessary to review headcount levels in Japan and the UK to match resource to the lower level of demand.

“In the UK, the business will soon launch an employee consultation process on proposals to reduce staff numbers.”

Shanghai-based Envision has two sites in Japan, as well as a US batty plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.

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Unite regional officer Nick Halton said today, Friday, June 5: “We understand that the company has announced 120 potential redundancies and started a 45-day consultation. I am at the company this morning to ascertain the full implications of the announcement.

“This is a blow for the workers and their families, as well for the wider Sunderland economy. These are jobs the North East region can ill-afford to lose.

“Unite’s bottom line is that we don’t want any compulsory redundancies and we would urge the firm to reconsider the scale of the potential job losses, as we will need the skilled workers, such as those at Envision, to plan for the post-pandemic economy.”

MP Sharon Hodgson, whose Washington and Sunderland West constituency covers the plant, said: "The decline in demand in the UK automotive sector is extremely concerning and the news that the Envison AESC UK plant will be making redundancies will be causing great concern to employees and their families.

"I will work with the unions to ensure that employees do engage with the consultation process and I will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure that the UK automotive sector is supported."

But Nissan sold the plant to Envision for an undisclosed sum just over a year ago to concentrate on vehicle development and production.

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