19 February 2004
Purchasers at car maker Nissan's efficiency award-winning Sunderland plant are "gutted" at having to abandon their profession and take jobs in different departments if they want to remain in the north east.
The manufacturer will transport its purchasing department 250 miles south to Cranfield in Bedfordshire in July. Nissan staff are being forced to choose between relocation or an alternative job at the north-east plant.
The threat of industrial action by the purchasers failed to change the company's relocation decision (see News
, 27 November 2003).
Many of the purchasers are scheduled for a four-week trial in another job and can then decide if they wish to remain in that one, consider another potential job or take redundancy.
Nissan would not confirm how many of the 80 purchasing staff would remain at Sunderland but stressed that all workers had been offered relocation allowances of up to £7,500.
Mel Barras, north-east regional officer for union Amicus, which represents 70 per cent of the purchasing staff, told SM: "Purchasers are gutted because their only choice is to do a different job or go job hunting."
The move is to bring purchasing and design workers together under one roof to involve procurement at an earlier stage of car development.
David Swerdlow, spokesman for Nissan, said that although the company would try to retain purchasing staff in similar roles, some may find themselves in unfamiliar roles. "Our priority is to retain staff," he said. "Ideally we want purchasers to do purchasing, but realistically some will have to switch jobs."