July 21, 2020 / 4:30 PM / 22 days ago

Nissan offers to postpone Barcelona plant closures by six months

The logo of Nissan is seen through a fence at Nissan factory at Zona Franca during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Barcelona, Spain, May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co. is willing to postpone until June 2021 the closure of its three Barcelona plants, which had originally been due to close by December 2020, but only if workers resume production, a top executive said on Tuesday.

The decision to shut its three Barcelona plants and lay off around 3,000 workers was announced in May as part of a turnaround plan for Nissan, triggering protests by workers and a commitment by Madrid to convince the company to stay.

The postponement deal would also imply an agreement on compensation for laid-off workers and this would have to be reached before July 30 or early August when a negotiation period ends, Frank Torres, the head of the Japanese carmaker’s industrial operations in Spain, told reporters.

In exchange Nissan would not conduct layoffs until the end of 2020, Torres said. The postponement decision aims to give Spanish authorities time to find another company that could be interested in the plants, he said, adding that Nissan still saw no alternative to the plants’ closure.

Union leaders at Nissan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Joan Faus; Writing by Nathan Allen and Joan Faus; Editing by Mark Potter and Jane Merriman

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