Nissan reinforces its Barcelona plant

It will invest 70 million euros and has agreed on a workforce readjustment with the workers

Nissan has designed a new future plan for its Barcelona plant. The project envisages a 70 million euro investment which will go toward setting up a new paint plant, and includes a plan of incentivized redundancies with which it hopes to boost the center's competitiveness.

The new paint plant will conform to current environmental requirements, while contributing to improving efficiency and quality in this center. According to Gianluca De Ficchy, chairman of Nissan Europe: “Nissan has total confidence in the Barcelona team thanks to their solid results in delivering high quality vehicles. The investment in a new paint plant is a sign of the company's belief in this center”.

Focused on competitiveness
José Vicente de los Mozo, deputy executive vice president for manufacturing and supply chain operations in the Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, highlights the Catalan city's importance: “Barcelona is today an important plant for the alliance as a pickup centre, and the proposed investment will ensure this situation continues. It is also essential for the factory to focus on competitiveness and be prepared to face the future”.

However, to improve the competitiveness of this plant, the plan includes a workforce readjustment that will affect 600 employees due to the reduction in production volumes. “We are focused on securing the sustainability of our business in Europe and ensuring that it is prepared to face today's challenges. This means aligning our employment levels with the production volumes, which we intend to achieve through voluntary measures”, explained De Ficchy at the end of March.

Agreement with the workers
After a month and a half of negotiations, the management and the workers' representatives have reached an agreement that includes an early retirement plan and a salary increase. Early retirements will therefore be compensated with 85% of the net salary until retirement at age 63. A lump-sum adhesion premium will also be paid to employees who fulfill the conditions. The incentivized redundancy plan will run from June 13 this year to March 31, 2020, and improve the conditions contained in the previous agreement by offering the legal compensation plus 50,000 euros.

As Genís Alonso, managing director of Nissan Motor Ibérica (NMISA), explained at the end of March: “Our intention with these measures is to ensure that the Barcelona plant is in a competitive position. Looking ahead, the plant must continue to demonstrate its competitiveness and quality within the alliance and be ready for the time when future opportunities arise”.

In a separate development, in March Nissan began the prior works for the production of a new gearbox in the Powertrain plant in Barcelona, representing an investment of ten million euros since March 2018. The allocation of this component involved the installation of new latest-generation machines in the mechanization workshop, in addition to adapting and upgrading the existing machines. This plant employs 300 workers, out of a total of 5,000 the company has in its five production centers in Spain.