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Nissan strike threat lifted.

Peace talks have successfully resolved a strike threat which would have been the first to hit Nissan's North East plant.

Workers were poised to stage a walkout at the Washington car factory.

But lengthy negotiations, which centred on the company's plans to move part of its operation south, have ended in success.

Members of the 60-strong purchasing department have decided to accept a package of proposals put forward by the company to soften the blow.

As a result the relocation of the department will go ahead as planned later this year, and Nissan will keep its proud 18-year record of never having lost a day's production to strike action.

The Chronicle understands the key to the breakthrough was the company's offer to find alternative jobs for any purchasing staff who do not wish to move to Cranfield, in Bedfordshire.

But a union leader for Amicus, which represents many of the workers in involved in the dispute, said the situation has left a bitter taste in the mouth for some workers.

Regional organiser Mel Barras said: "Members have now been presented with the improved offer from Nissan.

"Because the company has now changed its stance by focusing more on deploying any workers affected by the move in this region people have decided against strike action.

"But many are still highly critical of the firm over the whole matter."

Mr Barras has slammed the Japanese car giant for the redundancy settlement it had offered workers who do not want to move to Cranfield.

He accused the firm of lagging behind the normal agreements in the car industry by providing those opting for redundancy with 26 weeks of pay which is dwarfed by rivals including Ford and Vauxhall.

"This was a niggardly offer and doesn't reflect the commitment the workers have shown to Nissan over the years."

But Mr Barras did give a general welcome to the firm's undertaking to find alternative employment within the huge complex at Washington.

Nissan spokesman David Swerdlow said: "Nissan is pleased that this issue has been resolved through sensible dialogue and consultation.

"The company will continue answering any questions its purchasing staff may have over the relocation, while making every effort to find alternative employment at NMUK for those wishing to remain in the North East."
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 4, 2004
Words:379
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