Nissan workforce set for Freedom of the City ceremony

Nissan's Sunderland plant.
Nissan's Sunderland plant.

Nissan’s workforce is to receive the Freedom of the City at a special ceremony next week.

Employees at the car plant - representing some 7,000 workers - will be presented with the honour at an extraordinary meeting of Sunderland City Council next Thursday.

Sharon Hodgson MP

Sharon Hodgson MP

The event will be held in the council chamber of the Civic Centre.

A report issued to accompany the 6pm meeting states: “The council do confer the Honorary Freedom of the city upon the Employees of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd as a token of the esteem in which they are held by the citizens of Sunderland and in recognition of their continued dedication to ensuring the success of the car plant and their positive contribution to the economic wellbeing of the city and people of Sunderland.”

Confirmation of the ceremony comes as Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson welcomed news the factory will increase its production by 20 per cent and double the amount of parts is sources from UK-based companies.

The firm had declined to comment on the reports by Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review, which said the car giant is to up its productivity.

This is fantastic news for Sunderland and I am thrilled to see Nissan investing again in our area.

Sharon Hodgson

It has been claimed this is to offset increased costs following Brexit,

The publication, which covers the Japanese stock market, says Nissan will encourage parts suppliers to relocate close to the plant, which will help reduce the risk of the risk of higher import and export duties, should the UK lose access to the European single market and customs union.

Nissan announced last October it was investing in the production of a new models of the Qashqai and X-Trail in Sunderland after it was given Government assurances withdrawal from the EU would no impact on its competitiveness.

In the wake of the claims made earlier this week, it says it is continuing to work with the Government to ensure it’s long-term success and investment.

Today, Mrs Hodgson MP said: “This is fantastic news for Sunderland and I am thrilled to see Nissan investing again in our area.

“This welcome news is down to the hard work and dedication of the employees and management of the Nissan plant, along with its crucial supply chain.

“This is something I have called on the Government to do through investing to boost production of UK-sourced materials for Nissan cars to meet WTO rules of origin, and it is welcome that Nissan will go ahead with this investment themselves to ensure the future of the plant and their employees.

“It is important the Government supports this move too.

“Families across Sunderland and the wider North East will be just as delighted as I am with this news and will be celebrating the continued partnership between the people of our area and Nissan.

“Long may it continue.”

The bill to give Nissan the Freedom of the City was agreed unanimously last November.

Its chief performance officer Trevor Mann was awarded a freedom in March 2014.

Others to be awarded the title include 4th Regiment the Royal Artillery, 3 Rifles, and the ratings and officers of HMS Ocean, Sunderland’s adopted warship, and war correspondent Kate Adie, former Sunderland AFC players Niall Quinn and its goalkeeping legend Jimmy Montgomery.