Union welcomes Nissan commitment to Sunderland plant

Unite, Britain’s largest trade union, has welcomed Nissan’s decision to build two new cars at its Sunderland plant.

The car maker announced on Thursday that it will produce the next Qashqai and will add production of the next X-Trail model at Sunderland.

This decision followed the UK Government’s “support and assurances” to ensure the Sunderland plant remains competitive, the Japanese company said. The move secures over 7,000 jobs at the plant and thousands more through the supply chain.

Unite described the decision as “a massive vote of confidence in Britain’s world-beating car industry”. The union urged the government to support other carmakers and the wider manufacturing industry to ensure continued investment in the UK.

Tony Burke, assistant general secretary of Unite, said that Sunderland is one of Nissan’s most productive plants.

“The decision to build the new Qashqai and X-Trail in Sunderland is recognition of the UK car industry’s status as a world leader and secures tens of thousands of jobs at the Sunderland plant and throughout the supply chain,” he continued.

“A source for decent jobs, skills and innovation, it is vital that the government supports the car industry and secures tariff-free access to the single market to ensure other manufacturers follow Nissan’s lead and invest in the UK car industry.”

Those sentiments were echoed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, whose chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “Today’s announcement is good news for UK automotive and jobs, confirming Britain as a leader in automotive production. To secure this position, however, we need government to provide public assurance to investors that our advantages will be maintained — namely, a competitive business environment, the ability to recruit talent from abroad and the continuation of all the benefits of the single market as we leave the EU.”