Nissan will shed hundreds of jobs at its Sunderland plant after a significant decline in demand for diesel cars.
A quarter of the vehicles made at the plant are diesel-powered. The plant, which makes Nissan’s Qashqai and Juke models, as well as the electric Leaf, employs 7,000 people.
The Japanese automaker said that it is “transitioning to a new range of powertrains over the next year.”
Nissan added that the decision was “not related to Brexit”.
A Nissan spokeswoman said: “As previously communicated, we are transitioning to a new range of powertrains over the next year. As we make the operational changes required to support this, we will be managing a planned short-term reduction in powertrain supply and plant volumes in line with our 2018 business plan. We are now discussing these operational changes with our employees.”
Earlier this month Jaguar Land Rover announced it was not renewing the contracts for 1,000 temporary workers at its largest factory, in Solihull, West Midlands, due to “headwinds” from declining diesel sales.
Diesel vehicle sales have plunged in the UK after the VW emissions scandal, a tax hike on new diesel vehicles, and a government announcement that sales of all new diesel and petrol cars and vans would be banned by 2040.
Unite officer Steve Bush said: “Unite is working with Nissan to minimise job losses associated with a short-term reduction in volumes at the carmaker’s Sunderland plant.
“Unite has been assured that any job reductions will be on a voluntary basis and on enhanced terms. Over the coming weeks we will be giving our members maximum support and ensuring that they can make informed choices about their future.
“Going forward we expect to see temporary workers at the plant move into permanent positions as volumes pick up again in future years.”