Entire Sunderland Nissan workforce set to be honoured with Freedom of the City
Councillors have tabled a motion to convey the honour at tonight's full meeting of Sunderland City Council, held at the Civic Centre.
The bill is expected to be passed unanimously, giving Nissan workers the same honour as the 4th Regiment the Royal Artillery, 3 Rifles, and the ratings and officers of HMS Ocean, Sunderland's adopted warship, and war correspondent Kate Adie,
Nissan's chief performance officer Trevor Mann was awarded a freedom in March 2014, and other recent freedoms have included former Sunderland AFC players Niall Quinn MBE and its goalkeeping legend Jimmy Montgomery BEM, and Joël Batteux the Mayor of Sunderland's twin-town St Nazaire.
The honour for the workforce comes after Nissan, which employs more than 7,000 people in Sunderland, said it would be updating its production facilities with a new Qashqai model and a new vehicle the X-Trail.The motion nomination reads: "This council congratulates wholeheartedly the Nissan workforce for their sterling efforts in securing the future production of the next generation Qashqai and X-Trail and feels that it is right and proper for the workforce of Nissan to receive the Freedom of the City at a future date."The notice, which received cross-party support, was proposed by council leader Paul Watson.Freedoms are proposed in Sunderland to individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions to the wellbeing and community spirit of the city.
Once the motion is passed, the council will look to further arrangements for a Nissan Freedom Ceremony in 2017. In addition to the recent Nissan announcement, Sunderland City Council has a joint-venture with South Tyneside Council to develop an International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) to the north of the Nissan plant. This is for more than 100 hectares (more than 100 football pitches) of new manufacturing space to attract 5,000 new jobs and Â£300million of investment.