Former Sunderland Nissan worker wins £100,000 injury payout
A former worker at Nissan’s Sunderland plant has won a £100,000 compensation payout from the car giant.
Colin Reay suffered knee damage after he was switched to repetitive duties and has now said: “I feel like this injury has aged me by almost 30 years.”
Mr Reay, 42, estimates he repeatedly climbed up and down a small flight of steps while working on an average of 450 cars per shift in the Washington plant’s check and repair department.
He says his request to rotate duties a month into his new role was ignored and that he was eventually diagnosed with significant damage to his right cartilage a further six months later.
Mr Reay has also spoken about how he suffered a nervous breakdown after he was asked to leave the company in June 2016 following a dispute over his subsequent sickness record.
He said: “Talk about adding insult to injury. I couldn’t believe how Nissan treated me.
“First they put my health at risk. Then they ignored my concerns. Then they laid me off.”
Nissan, which insists the “the welfare of the team is our top priority”, has now agreed to pay Mr Reay £100,000 in damages after his repetitive strain injury case was taken up by the Unite union and Thompsons’ solicitors.
He said: “In the end it took the hard work of Unite’s legal services and Thompsons’ solicitors, who know better than most how to deal with difficult employers, to get Nissan to acknowledge that the company was in the wrong, not me.
“Luckily, I’ve been able to take on some alternative part-time work.
“But my knee is going to restrict my future employability and that is a bitter pill to swallow.
“Not only that, but the effects on my personal life have been huge. I can’t go running and I struggle to play with my children. I feel like this injury has aged me by almost 30 years.”
Karen Reay, Unite’s regional secretary, said: “This was a complex case made more difficult by Nissan defending its position vigorously until the case nearly came to trial.
“Our legal team and the experts at Thompsons obtained a number of witness statements from colleagues supporting Colin’s claim, including a Unite steward, as well as reports from medical experts.
“It was only through this that Nissan saw no other option that to admit fault and pay Colin a fair compensation for the pain and financial hardships this injury has caused him.”
Mr Reay, from Newcastle, was transferred to the wax booth check and repair role in October 2014 and diagnosed with the cartilage injury in May 2015.
A Nissan spokeswoman said: “While we would not comment on a legal matter like this, the welfare of the team is our top priority, which is why we continually manage and monitor safety in partnership with employees and their representatives.”