Black smoke rises from a barricade of tires burned in the face of a factory centenary of Barcelona, symbol of the automobile industry in spain. Nissan has recently announced its closure, leaving thousands of employees bitter and angry.
“In the midst of a pandemic of COVID-19, it is really shameful that a multinational company like this one let us down,” said an employee of the purchasing department, Jordi Carbonell, 54, referring to the alliance Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.
In the Face of falling demand, the alliance has decided on a comprehensive restructuring.
In the crowd of employees (hidden) crowding in front of the gates, this employee was with a heavy heart.
He has spent 32 years of his life at Nissan and feels “misled” by management for years : “no site is cost-effective if it does not obtain a volume of production sufficient, and here, they have left him to die “.
“Everyone on the road”
“Indignation is at its height, we contain it, but I don’t know what will happen in the coming days,” warned Jordi, calling for the government to “penalize as much as possible” group.
“Everyone on the road! “, yelled a protester, while a car leaves the factory to block the traffic of the highway.
Nissan’s Zona Franca, which employs 3,000 people, and according to the unions, 22 000 indirect jobs depend on it.
Forty years after their arrival in Barcelona (North-East of the country), the Japanese from Nissan announced Thursday the closure of the plant, their largest in the european Union since the Brexit, because they still hold a production site in the United Kingdom.
This blow to the automotive industry, which represents 10 % of Spain’s GDP, is likely to be overshadowed by the news of the pandemic, said the trade union leader, Pedro Ayllon, denouncing a plan-led “very dishonest” in the midst of a health crisis.
“When I came out, in 1986, they built still of tractors. This is a company that has made virtually all, we have always been very flexible, “insists the trade union USOC, for which the problems began at the time of the alliance with Renault in 1999, when Nissan became” the partner secondary school in Europe “.
“Since then, we have been entrusted with the manufacture of vehicles of low level of production, those that often others did not want to manufacture elsewhere,” he says.
The factory manufactures especially all-terrain vehicles, and light trucks, as well as the electric van NV200. Its capacity is 200 000 vehicles a year, but even before the pandemic, the production had been dramatically reduced to less than one-third.
The entire business was paralyzed since the beginning of may with a strike by employees who were demanding an investment plan, while the deletion of 20 % of the workforce was already planned.
It was ten years ago, in the full effects of the financial crisis of 2008, the trade unionists were already opposed to the direction to require a sustainability plan for the plant, which then seemed doomed.
After months of conflict, they had got the allocation of new vehicles to be manufactured, while accepting a significant pay reduction and a degradation of their working conditions. “The workers make sacrifices in exchange for promises that are never kept,” says Ayllon.
“Domino effect “
Among the protesters, a couple of employees anxieties in particular : Juan Sánchez, 45, an employee at the paint shop, and his girlfriend, Loli Maraver, assigned to the assembly.
Both are now under threat of redundancy. “A family unit is found in the street, without a job,” said Juan, looking forward to their two girls, aged 10 years.
The news comes at the worst time, he insists. “With the Covid-19, we can’t find a job, where there are a lot of layoffs in other businesses.”
And if the authorities do not react, warns Pedro Ayllon, ” this can have a domino effect on other companies that will see that to close a site in Spain is easy “.