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Pay strikes threatened at Nissan and Peugeot

Workers at two of the UK's most productive and successful car plants – Nissan and Peugeot factories – are threatening to down tools and plunge the automotive industry into a fresh crisis.

Trade union Amicus has issued a stark warning that strike action at the Nissan car plant in Sunderland is “dangerously close”. Amicus says pay talks between management and workers have broken down.

In a statement, Nissan managing director John Cushnaghan says he is surprised and disappointed at the response. “Nissan regrets the alarmist and very public stance taken by Amicus,” he says.

The union claims the company's works council will present a two-year pay offer worth three per cent in each year without recommendation. But Nissan says discussions are ongoing and no decision has been taken yet.

Amicus represents 797 out of a total workforce of 4672 at the Sunderland plant and a stoppage by workers now would be the first in the plant's 19-year history. The site, which opened in the 1980s, produces around 300,000 cars a year, including Micras, Almeras, and Primeras.

Data from the World Markets European Research Centre (WMRC) shows the site was the most productive in Europe. It produces an average of 95 vehicles per equivalent employee compared to the typical European labour productivity rate of 58.28 vehicles per person.

Meanwhile, staff at Peugeot's Ryton car plant near Coventry, which builds the 206, have voted to strike following a dispute over pay. The Transport and General Workers' Union says just over half its members at the site voted in favour of industrial action.

Peugeot's latest pay deal was snubbed by workers in November. The French carmaker says its offer is worth an average of 7.3 per cent over two years. But Tony Woodley, the union's deputy general secretary, says the offer doesn't match other settlements in the industry.

“Our members want an offer that reflects their commitment to making Ryton one of the most successful car plants in Europe,” says Woodley.

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