22 January 2004 | Simon Binns
Purchasers at the Nissan plant on Wearside have done a U-turn over strike action.
Nissan had originally given the 60 purchasers, most of them members of the union Amicus, a 1 January deadline to either accept relocation to its engineering and design centre in Bedfordshire beginning in the summer or take redundancy (see News
, 27 November 2003).
After a ballot by Amicus, the buyers in favour of striking had planned a walkout on 5 January.
But Amicus called off the strike after Nissan agreed to discuss the employees' future.
A Nissan spokesman told SM: "I am glad to say that strike action is no longer an immediate threat. All sides now agree that discussion is the best way forward."
Amicus had previously accused the company of refusing to meet it. Mel Barras, the union's regional officer, welcomed the talks as a "breakthrough".
He said: "We have always been asking for a meeting with the company and now it has agreed to that. I need to talk to the company council to find out where they are up to, then we will meet the management."
Nissan has also extended the deadline for staff to give their decision over relocation to the end of January, and said that it would accept "broad intentions" instead of a definite answer.
A Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders report in December found that 57 per cent of respondents were worried that trade union militancy would grow in 2004 (see News
, 11 December 2003).