Car giant Nissan is scrapping its night shift at its Sunderland plant with up to 3,000 workers facing pay cuts.
The Japanese firm is facing falling sales of cars and diesel engines, but the giant Unite union said the shift changes had been achieved after extensive negotiations to ensure there were no job losses.
Nissan employs around 7,000 people in the north east and the end of 24 hour operations raises the spectre of potential job losses in the wake of “Brexit uncertainty.”
Workers were expected to be told about the changes at staff meetings overnight and tomorrow morning and will be a blow to employees who get 22% more pay for working nights.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Our officers and reps at the plant have been working hard to ensure that the full workforce is protected.
“As a result, no jobs will be lost with current demand being consolidated into remaining day shifts.
“Protecting jobs and the families and communities that rely on them is what strong unions do and Unite has done that again here in very difficult circumstances. I’m incredibly proud of our Unite team that worked so hard to make this happen”.
One Nissan insider told the Mirror: “This move is going to affect a lot of people, and hit a lot of pockets.
“Nissan is planning to get rid of the eight-hour shift, which at least 2,500 and as many as 3,000 currently work in Sunderland.
“They’re doing this basically to respond to a decline in sales of Nissan cars, as well as diesel engines more generally across Europe.
“At the moment, we have two production lines. One of them is made up of guys who work two shifts – the day shift and the late shift.
“The other is made up of 3,000 or so who work three shifts – day shift, late shift, and the night shift they’re about to abolish.
“If they decide to roll out this policy and cut the hours that thousands could work by eight-hours, they won’t be entitled to the night shift allowance.
“It’s set at 22% – and this will fall to 12%. So they’ll be hit in the pocket by 10%.
“Meanwhile, the company directors win, because they know they can produce the same number of cars on day and late shifts without running the night shift.
“But people won’t have a choice about this. Their families will lose out because of it. And it will affect thousands more in the area who work with Nissan.”
Nissan had previously received assurances from then Prime Minister Theresa May’s government it would be protected from the impact of Brexit.
However, the Japanese manufacturer recently warned that a No Deal Brexit would have “serious implications for British industry”.
A spokesman for Nissan said:”To support the production of new Juke, extra manufacturing staff will be needed on the plant’s production Line Two.
“In a restructuring of the production schedule, these staff will transfer from production Line One, with both lines operating on a two shift pattern. Overall headcount at the plant will remain the same.”
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The news comes after the Japanese car-maker Nissan confirmed in June that it will axe thousands of roles at factories around the world in the next three years.
The automotive giant – which employs 7,000 workers in Sunderland – announced a wage of “strategic reforms” as part of efforts to revive profits amid financial troubles.
The company said it will reduce its global capacity – along with the products it produces – by 10% by December 2022.
This will come hand-in-hand with 12,500 job cuts.