The move at the Sunderland plant has been made to protect its long-term future, says Nissan.
400 temporary workers will be among those to lose their job. Nissan will not renew their contracts from this month. It is hoped voluntary redundancies will account for the rest of the job losses.
‘Towards the end of 2008,’ said a statement from Nissan, ‘the dramatic decline in customer demand affecting all car makers led Sunderland plant to implement measures to adjust volume in line with the market.
‘These included reductions in line speed, operating an existing volume flexibility arrangement with staff, and implementing non-production training days.
The company has now implemented 2 further measures to realign volumes:
• 1 shift from both production lines will be trimmed between January – March 2009. This will result in ‘Line 1’ operating on 2 shifts, and ‘Line 2’ operating on 1 shift during this period.
• From April 2009 onwards, the plant will reinstate a shift on ‘Line 2’. ‘Line 1’ will remain on 2 shifts.
Nissan senior vice president for manufacturing, Europe, Trevor Mann, said: ‘Like all manufacturers, Sunderland is currently operating in extraordinary circumstances not of our making. It is essential we take the right action now to ensure we are in a strong and viable position once business conditions return to normal.’
The plant is the UK’s largest producer of cars, and posted a record year in 2008. It has secured a deal to build ‘an innovative compact vehicle’, that will be launched to car dealers in the middle of 2010.