Nissan pension attack 'opportunistic'

Nissan’s plans to axe Sunderland defined benefit pensions ‘disappointing’

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Nissan’s plans to end a defined benefits pension scheme for hundreds of workers at its Sunderland plant are ‘disappointing’ and ‘opportunistic’, Unite said today (Tuesday 2 June). 

The proposal to close the pension scheme comes after Unite warned Nissan that a planned efficiency drive announced last week must not impact on members’ jobs and terms and conditions.

Unite said the firm has also signalled that it will not be offering industry standard lump sums, which are usually provided to impacted workers when their defined benefits pension schemes are closed.

“Nissan’s plan to close the defined benefits pension scheme for hundreds of loyal workers is extremely disappointing. The Unite convenor for Nissan Sunderland, as well as the union’s deputy convenor, have spoken to members today and have passed on their anger at this decision to Nissan’s management,” Unite national officer for automotive Steve Bush said.

“Unite warned last week that proposed efficiency savings at the Sunderland plant must not be used as an excuse to attack staff terms and conditions. Due to the timing we see this as an opportunistic attempt to push through long sought-after changes that will have a damaging impact on our members’ plans and financial security in retirement. 

“Unite will not stand by and let this happen, especially when Nissan has signalled that an industry standard lump sum provided in return for accepting the closure of defined benefit schemes is also off the table. 

“Unite is more than willing to help Nissan recalibrate to a changing world but this must not come at the expense of our members’ jobs, terms and conditions or other benefits. In the coming days we will be seeking our members views and be sitting down with the company to find a positive way forward for all.”

The union is also lobbying for a government-led industry-wide recovery plan to prevent job losses taking place and skills being lost, and to assist the industry in meeting the climate change challenge. 

Bush said, “Unite continues to push for sector level assistance from government to support the transition of our world class automotive industry in these unprecedented times. But that does not mean we will stand by as companies discuss detrimental measures in reaction to immediate and short-term challenges.” 

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