Nissan is set to cut hundreds of jobs at its plant in Sunderland because of a fall in demand for diesel-powered cars.
The automotive giant said there would be a “short-term” cut to production.
A spokesman would not confirm how many jobs would be affected but Sky News understands that reports that they are in the hundreds are correct.
Nissan is “transitioning to a new range of powertrains over the next year”, it added, saying the move was “not related to Brexit”.
A “short-term reduction in powertrain supply and plant volumes” had been “planned”, it said.
A company notice seen by Sky News is offering tax-free payoffs of £30,000 to workers with more than 15 years of service who wish to leave the company.
Models built at the Sunderland site, which employs around 7,000 workers, include the Juke and Qashqai, many of which are diesel.
Nissan decided in 2016 to build two new models in Sunderland.
Sales of diesel cars have been falling in the UK following the VW emissions scandal, and a tax rise on new diesel vehicles.
Jaguar Land Rover recently announced it was not renewing the contracts of around 1,000 temporary workers at its factory in Solihull – partly because of falling demand for diesel.
New car sales as a whole in the UK fell 5.7% last year.
Nissan said it was discussing the “operational changes” with its employees, and was expecting volumes to rise again as it prepared to launch the “next generation Juke, Qashqai and X-Trail”.
An officer with Unite, Steve Bush, said the union was “working with Nissan to minimise job losses”.
Unite had been assured, he added, that “any job reductions will be on a voluntary basis and on enhanced terms”.
From – SkyNews