Trade unions make a last attempt to attract Nissan’s new car model to Barcelona by proposing their own cost reduction plan
After Nissan’s announcement that Barcelona would not build its new car model, the Catalan Government and the trade unions have been trying to persuade the Japanese company to change its mind. The six-month negotiation was derailed ten days ago, when Nissan considered the talks to be over as the unions refused to sign its final proposal. However, the company has not announced where the new car will be built yet. The union representing the majority of the Catalan plant’s workers has already signed Nissan’s proposal, but the unions CCOO and UGT – the main ones in Catalonia – have insisted on presenting their own proposal, based on Nissan’s need to make reductions of €30 million. A few days ago, Nissan stated that it was too late, but now it says it will study the union’s proposal to look at the details.
Barcelona (ACN).- On Monday Catalonia\u2019s main trade unions, the General Union of Workers (UGT) and the Workers\u2019 Commissions (CCOO), sent the Catalan Government their cost reduction proposal affecting the Nissan plant\u2019s costs in Barcelona, in order to meet the company\u2019s competitiveness requirements and attract the new sedan car model the Japanese multinational is about to allocate. The Catalan Government is acting as mediator between the workers\u2019 representatives and Nissan, especially now that talks are officially over. The multinational and the unions had been negotiating a new competitiveness agreement for 6 months but talks derailed 10 days ago, when Nissan considered the talks to be over as the unions refused to sign its final proposal. Then the company announced that its plant located in Barcelona\u2019s Zona Franca industrial district \u2013 strategically located next to the sea port and El Prat airport \u2013 would not build its new car model. Nissan\u2019s announcement had a great impact on the unions, which are now trying to persuade the multinational to change its mind. The union representing the majority of the Catalan plant\u2019s workers (Signen-USOC) signed Nissan\u2019s final proposal about a week ago, but CCOO and UGT \u2013 the main ones in Catalonia \u2013 have insisted on presenting their own proposal, based on Nissan\u2019s need to make reductions of \u20AC30 million. The CCOO and UGT\u2019s proposal was written mid-last week and ratified by Barcelona plant\u2019s workers on Saturday. A few days ago, Nissan stated that it was too late, but now it says it will study the union\u2019s final proposal to look at the details. However, on Monday there was no date for another meeting and Nissan had not confirmed it will change its mind. Meanwhile, the Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig, is cautious, although he believes there is still \u201Csome chance\u201D that Nissan will finally build its new car model in Barcelona. Furthermore, on Monday the Spanish Ministry for Industry, José Manuel Sória, was optimistic about the final outcome, as he saw \u201Cthe best predisposition from all parts\u201D to find a satisfactory agreement. Sória believes that the final proposal from the CCOO-UGT can put the situation back on track and make Nissan decide to allocate the new car model to its Barcelona plant. If Nissan was to decide to build the new sedan in Barcelona, it would represent an investment of \u20AC130 million, creating 1,000 direct positions and 3,000 additional jobs. Besides, it would consolidate Greater Barcelona\u2019s position as one of the main clusters of the automotive industry in southern Europe.
The unions\u2019 proposal takes into account Nissan\u2019s needs, according to the unions
After ratifying its alternative proposal to improve the competitiveness of Nissan\u2019s Barcelona plant in Saturday\u2019s assembly, CCOO and UGT sent it to the Catalan Ministry of Business on Monday, so it can send it to Nissan, as the Catalan Government is acting as mediator between the company and the workers. However, firstly the Ministry will analyse the proposal to confirm it is in line with the company\u2019s needs. According to the unions, their last proposal takes into account Nissan\u2019s petition to reduce costs by \u20AC30 million and it accepts the company\u2019s proposal to implement a dual salary scale, with new workers earning 20% less than existing workers.
According to CCOO and UGT, it is an \u201Calternative\u201D proposal to Nissan\u2019s but with many similarities and achieving the same goals of reducing costs and improving the Catalan plant\u2019s competitiveness. In fact, they state that they are accepting most of the proposals presented by the Japanese company, such as the dual salary scale. However, the unions are also asking for a guarantee that the oldest workers will be protected in the case of a hypothetical mass layoff.
Nissan has not closed the door but wants to study the details
Nissan\u2019s management in Catalonia is cautious. Even though the company would accept talking to the unions again, it is waiting until it has looked at the proposal\u2019s details. However, sources from Nissan have reminded the workers that they still support the company\u2019s last proposal \u2013 from 10 days ago \u2013 which was signed on the 21st of January by the main trade union in the factory, Signem-USOC. Furthermore, Nissan has insisted that they will only accept an agreement that is in line with their demands.