November 11, 2008 / 6:07 PM / 12 years ago

Protesters attack Nissan's Spanish HQ over layoffs

MADRID, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Several hundred people protesting against Nissan’s (7201.T) plans to lay off staff at its plant in Spain threw bottles, fireworks and fencing at the Japanese company’s offices in Barcelona on Tuesday.

Reuters pictures showed the demonstrators gathering in central Barcelona to protest at Nissan’s decision to cut 1,680 jobs at its factory in the city because of weak demand.

The protests coincided with demonstrations against the closure of a shipyard in Gijon, northern Spain, where protesters barricaded streets with burning tyres and set off fireworks.

When Nissan announced the layoffs in October, it said the global economic crisis had caused a dramatic drop in vehicle sales, and new environment laws had cut demand for all-terrain vehicles made at the plant in eastern Spain.

Volkswagen (VOWG.DE) and Ford (F.N) have also announced layoffs at their factories in Spain in recent weeks because of falling demand.

Car sales in the European Union fell 4.4 percent in the first nine months of the year from a year earlier, according to the manufacturers association ACEA.

Spain’s Socialist government had hoped that improvements in productivity would help the car manufacturing sector, but Spain has borne the brunt of the sector-wide production cuts seen in Europe because of the economic slowdown. (Reporting by Jonathan Gleave, Albert Gea in Barcelona and Eloy Alonso in Gijon; editing by Tim Pearce)

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