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Nissan rejects US government offer to mediate dispute with UAW

3 February, 2015Nissan Motor Company has refused a US government offer of mediation to resolve a longstanding dispute with the United Auto Workers (UAW) and IndustriALL Global Union over the company’s anti-union practices in the United States. The State Department-based US National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines said on Friday “the issues raised by UAW and IndustriALL are material and substantiated and merit further examination.”

The UAW and IndustriALL accepted the NCP’s offer of mediation and joined a preliminary information session in November with mediators from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to learn about the mediation procedures.

“It is clear Nissan behaves one way in some parts of the world but is grossly exploiting workers in the United States. The fact that the company continues to ignore the severity of the situation and its refusal to end these abuses or engage in dialogue that could result in a positive step forward for both workers and the company is absolutely unreasonable.” said UAW President Dennis Williams.

Jyrki Raina, head of IndustriALL, which represents 50 million workers globally including 150,000 Nissan workers and a majority of Renault autoworkers worldwide, expressed grave disappointment at the news. “UAW and IndustriALL affiliates have repeatedly made attempts to meet with Nissan North America to resolve this issue. Nissan’s unwillingness to engage in the OECD process sends a very worrisome message to its partners at Renault and Daimler as well as the global investment community.” Raina said adding, “We have known Nissan for its respect of workers’ rights elsewhere in the world, but in the US we have heard evidence of intimidation and exploitation of its workers and their communities. This is a troubling step backwards for Nissan.”

The U.S. NCP also noted that it had shared information on the case with the NCPs of Japan, France, and the Netherlands and that “those NCPs remain available to offer assistance to the parties.” Nissan is a Japanese corporation, but France-based Renault owns 43.4 percent of Nissan and the Renault-Nissan Alliance is incorporated in the Netherlands. Following the U.S. NCP’s Final Statement, the UAW and IndustriALL are now considering moves to those forums in an effort to resolve the dispute.

The U.S. government is recommending that Nissan should “conduct a corporate-wide labour rights review” of its adherence to the OECD Guidelines and that Nissan should consider other forms of mediation to resolve the issues raised in the OECD case.

Link to the Final Statement: http://www.state.gov/e/eb/oecd/usncp/links/rls/236972.htm