7,000 Nissan Sunderland workers awarded Freedom of the City

Thousands of Nissan employees are to be awarded the Freedom of the City of Sunderland, at a special ceremony today (Thursday 7 September) in Sunderland’s Civic Centre.

The firm’s 7,000 North East workers who will receive the highest honour the city can bestow will be represented by 65 members of staff, who will attend the ceremony on their behalf.

Freedoms of the City are granted upon individuals or groups as valued members of the community and who have made outstanding contributions to the wellbeing and community spirit of the city. The accolade was first motioned by Sunderland City Council Leader Paul Watson and later approved at a full council meeting following cross-party support. It recognises the role of Nissan’s workforce in establishing the largest ever and most successful plants in the history of UK car production.

Councillor Paul Watson said: “Nissan’s phenomenal success in Sunderland would not have been possible without the highly skilled and hard-working people it employs here. “The plant’s workforce has been instrumental in building the city’s global reputation and in maintaining our proud track record of manufacturing and engineering quality products for the rest of the world.”

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s Divisional Vice President, European manufacturing, said: “I speak for the whole plant when I say how proud we are to receive this honour from Sunderland City Council. For three decades Nissan and the City of Sunderland have worked hand in hand, creating a leading global automotive centre.

“Central to that has been the ingenuity, quality and commitment of our workforce - so many of whom were born and bred close to our factory.”