Nissan’s new car model, an investment of €130 million creating 4,000 jobs, will not be built in Barcelona
Trade unions refused to sign the Japanese company’s final offer to increase the competitiveness of Barcelona’s plant by reducing salaries and changing working conditions, so Nissan announced the end of the talks after 6 months of negotiation and meditation by the Catalan Government. Before Christmas, the Japanese company had already warned the unions that talks were coming to an end as the production of the new sedan car needed to be allocated. Back then Nissan presented a final offer, which has however been modified in the last few days. Once the agreement seemed to be imminent, Nissan floated the idea of a two-day reduction in holiday days, which the unions immediately rejected. Nissan warned that its Barcelona plant might now face “a slow-death scenario”.
Barcelona (ACN).- Bad news for the Catalan automotive industry. Finally, after six months of negotiation, Nissan has confirmed that its Barcelona plant will not build the new sedan car model. This decision means that Barcelona will lose a \u20AC130 million investment, which would have created 1,000 direct and 3,000 indirect jobs. The reason is that the trade unions refused to sign the Japanese company\u2019s final offer to increase the competitiveness of Barcelona\u2019s plant by reducing salaries and changing working conditions. The Japanese company insisted that Barcelona\u2019s plant had to be more competitive to win the production of new models, despite the fact that a competitiveness agreement had already been signed less than a year ago, when Nissan decided to build its new van model in the Catalan capital. However, this time the unions \u2013 mainly CCOO and UGT \u2013 refused to sign the final offer. Before Christmas, the Japanese company had already warned the unions that talks were coming to an end as the production of the new sedan car needed to be allocated. Back then Nissan presented a final offer, which has however been modified in the last few days. Once the agreement seemed to be imminent a day ago, Nissan floated the idea of a two-day reduction in holiday days, which the unions immediately rejected. This blew up the negotiations and on Friday the company confirmed that Barcelona was out of the race to build the new car, which will probably be now allocated to the United Kingdom. Furthermore, Nissan was pessimistic about the future of its Barcelona plant, which will face \u201Ca slow-death scenario\u201D if it is not able to attract new cars. In fact, if the plant does not attract new models, the production of the current cars will slowly decrease as they will become old models and fewer units will be sold. According to Nissan projections, this might mean that around 600 workers would be laid off in 2013 and 2014 in Barcelona.
Nissan\u2019s plant, located in Barcelona\u2019s Zona Franca industrial district \u2013 which is strategically located next to the sea port and the airport \u2013 could have reached its maximum production capacity with the production of this new car model, the first sedan the company would have built in Catalonia. The Japanese company would have invested \u20AC130 million in adapting the factory and hiring 1,000 new workers, an investment that would have created 3,000 additional indirect jobs in the industry of car suppliers. 82,000 car units of the new model would have been produced per year and the Catalan factory would have assembled more than 200,000 cars per year overall. Instead of this, Frank Torres, the CEO of Nissan Motor Ibérica \u2013 the Spanish branch of the Japanese multinational \u2013 stated that now the Zona Franca factory is facing \u201Ca slow-death scenario\u201D.
Torres has stated that not having approved the competitiveness agreement leaves the Barcelona plant \u201Cin a very delicate situation, without the necessary competitiveness to attract new models that will replace our current products when they will reach the end of their life cycle\u201D. \u201CAs we have always said, the agreement was essential for the long-term plans of these facilities, especially in the current context of the economic crisis\u201D, stated Torres. In December, Torres warned the unions that without the contract to build the new model, the factory would reduce its production in 2013 and 2014, laying off 600 workers. Therefore, the agreement would not only have created 1,000 new jobs in the factory but also would have secured 600 of the current ones.