Unite signed a landmark deal on behalf of its Nissan members in Sunderland this week, as production began on the firm’s latest electric car.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey travelled to the company’s Sunderland facility on Monday (December 18) to sign the agreement and watch the first models of the next generation Nissan Leaf roll off the production line.
The agreement strengthens the union’s voice at the automotive factory by enhancing consultation with Unite and cementing positive industrial relations for the future.
Nissan’s Sunderland workforce has steadily increased since the first industrial agreement was signed in 1986 by Unite’s predecessor union.
There were initially 500 workers employed at the site. This has now increased to 7,000 workers, with the plant currently producing 500,000 cars a year.
“This new industrial agreement is a landmark moment that significantly strengthens the union’s industrial voice within Nissan to the benefit of our members,” McCluskey said.
“Since the initial industrial agreement was signed in 1986, the Sunderland plant has expanded to become a truly world class facility. Unite members at Sunderland are among the most efficient in the Nissan family, making world beating cars which are exported across the globe.
“The new agreement enhances consultation with Unite and the workforce ensuring that all concerned can continue to enjoy positive industrial relations, as the site continues to both grow and flourish.”
The Nissan Leaf has been produced in Britain since 2013, following a £456m investment from the firm.
The brand has proved very popular, with more than 85,000 Leaf models being sold in Europe since 2011.
Nissan Europe divisional vice president for manufacturing, Kevin Fitzpatrick, said, “Nissan led the way in introducing electric vehicles to Europe in 2011, and every year since then it’s been clear that more and more customers share our vision for the future of driving.
“We’re excited to start production in Sunderland and to bring the new Nissan Leaf to European markets from February.”
As well as the Leaf, Nissan’s Sunderland plant also manufactures the Juke, Qashqai and Infinity Q30 and QX30 models.