New protests erupt in Spain over Nissan closure as carmaker shifts focus to Brexit Britain

Spain: Nissan workers protest against plant closures

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Nissan took the decision last year to shut down its three car-making plants in Barcelona in Spain, prompting anger among its employees. At the same time, Nissan decided to pour millions of pounds of investment into its plant in Sunderland in a huge vote of confidence in Brexit Britain. The closure in Barcelona was postponed until this year, prompting a new wave of anger on the streets this week. 

Protesters marched in Barcelona on Thursday in a demonstration against the planned closures of car manufacturing plants.

Furious workers held banners and threw firecrackers outside government offices. 

Workers at the plant accuse the local government of failing to find alternatives.

Nissan trade union chief, Miguel Angel Boiza said: “Many months have passed and there are no projects yet.

“That’s why we are going out to the streets, if we don’t make any warnings, they will just forget.”

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He added: “We need a big project with a capacity to generate a lot of direct and indirect employment.”

Around 3,000 people work at the plants, while up to 20,000 more, including suppliers, are involved indirectly.

Around a thousand people joined in the protests in the Catalan capital on Thursday, according to local media.

Workers and trade union members held banners that read “We demand real future” and “We will not give up”.

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Employees of the company said the protest is a “wake-up call” for the government officials.

They said people want an “urgent solution” before the three factories in the Barcelona are shut down by December.

When the announcement was made last year, thousands also took to the streets in a series of protests that lasted for weeks.

On the other side, the Japanese carmaker has increased its investment in the UK at its Sunderland plant, where it has 6,000 direct employees and supports nearly 70,000 jobs in the supply chain.

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Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer at Nissan, said in January: “Brexit gives us the competitive advantage not only within the United Kingdom but outside the United Kingdom as well.”

He criticised trade restrictions imposed by Brussels and said the company will now buy more batteries from within the UK, rather than importing from the EU.

The carmaker announced that its new generation of Qashqai cars will be made in Britain, a move which earned praise among Brexiteers.

Former chair of the Brexit Party Richard Tice tweeted: “BREXIT BRILLIANCE: new Nisan car model ‘designed in Britain, engineered in Britain, built in Britain. Sounds good to me.”

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