Union remains 'seriously concerned' over future employment at Sunderland's Nissan plant

Nissan has confirmed that the next-generation X-Trail SUV will be built in Japan, not Sunderland.
Nissan has confirmed that the next-generation X-Trail SUV will be built in Japan, not Sunderland.
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A union chief says today's confirmation that Nissan has cancelled plans to produce the X-Trail in Sunderland raises serious concerns about additional employment at the Wearside plant.

Nissan confirmed rumours that the X-Trail SUV model would not be built at the Wearside plant despite receiving assurances from the Government in 2016.

Steve Bush, of Unite the Union, says he has concerns over the future investment of apprenticeships and additional jobs and has blamed the 'government's mishandling' of the transition away from diesel and Brexit uncertainty for the loss of Nissan X-Trail.

The confirmation comes as a huge blow to the near 7,000-strong workforce at the car firm's Wearside plant as the car firm admits uncertainty around the future relationship between the UK and the EU is 'not helping companies like ours to plan for the future'.

The union say job levels at the plant will remain the same evern though they are being cut elsewhere in the industry.

Unite's acting national officer for the automotive sector, Steve Bush said: "This is very disappointing news for Sunderland and the north east, and reflects the serious challenges facing the entire UK auto sector.

Nissan's Sunderland plant

Nissan's Sunderland plant

"The government's mishandling of the transition away from diesel allied to the continuing uncertainty around our future trading relationship with the EU are extremely unhelpful when the sector ought to be focussed on preparations for electrification and industry 4.0.

Read more: 'This is a great loss of future investment in Sunderland' - MP reacts to confirmation that Nissan will NOT build new X-Trail at Sunderland plant

"While this decision is naturally not good news we want to reassure our members that job levels at the plant will remain the same even though they are being cut elsewhere in the industry.

"However, we remain seriously concerned though that the apprenticeships and additional jobs that come with future investment and which this community so desperately needs will be lost.

"Unite now expects the company to work with us to ensure full preparations for Brexit in which jobs and investment are prioritised, which can be best achieved by our representation on the task force established by Nissan, and through continuous dialogue between the company and the union."

Read more: 11 things you said about Nissan confirming X-Trail won't be built in Sunderland

The announcement that the X-Trail would be built in Japan was made in a letter to staff that followed a day of political rows between Brexit supporters and opponents over the reason for one of Wearside's largest employers reneging on a 2016 decision to build the car there.