Nissan cuts 1,680 jobs in Barcelona
As demand for larger cars falls, Nissan Motor reduces one-third of its work force in Barcelona factories.14 October 2008
MADRID -- Nissan Motor on Monday became the latest Spanish automobile manufacturer to announce job cuts due to falling demand.
The Japanese carmaker said reducing its labour force would affect 1,680 workers at its plants in the Barcelona area, which employ some 4,300. Nissan's Spanish division has a total workforce of about 6,300.
The company said the "drastic measure" was necessary as the Barcelona plants focused on producing SUVs and trucks whose sales dropped sharply as consumers switched to smaller vehicles with lower emissions.
Sales of passenger cars and SUVs in Spain fell 32.2 percent in September and were down 22 percent in the first nine months of 2008 as higher interest rates, rising unemployment and high inflation hurt consumer confidence.
Demand for new cars also fell sharply during the summer in Western Europe as a whole, and was 3.9 percent lower in the first eight months of 2008.
Nissan said the job cuts would allow it to eliminate the third shift at its Barcelona factories and reduce its operations to 80 percent of its current level.
"Nissan is aware that this is a drastic measure and we regret having to let go 1,680 people who have been trained by the company", Nissan Motor Ibérica's general manager, Fumiaki Matsumoto, said during a news conference.
Nissan Spain's deputy general manager, Sergio Álcaraz, said the job cuts would begin "as soon as possible" and the "biggest impact" would be felt in 2008.
The metal workers division of the Spanish UGT labor union (MCA-UGT) said the planned job cuts by Nissan would also have a serious impact on companies connected to the automobile industry in Catalonia and on industry in the region as a whole.
"MCA-UGT will demand that the Spanish government intervene in defence of the interest of our workers", the union said.
[El Pais / Guillermo López Arana / Expatica]