Nissan has pulled the plug on a controversial plan to dismiss 450 workers from its Barcelona factory, following mounting pressure and strike threats from unions which claimed the scheme was unjustified, union sources told just-auto.

The two parties have struck a deal in which 110-150 workers will leave through voluntary departures this year but the remainder will keep their jobs, an official with top Spanish union UGT confirmed.

Under the scheme, Nissan will halt output of the Pathfinder SUV for five days this year and cut workers' scheduled holiday by a week though they will be paid EUR90 a day for that time.

The official described the agreement as "very positive" and applauded the Catalonia regional government for helping broker a deal.

Earlier this month, unions staged impassioned protests outside the Barcelona site, threatening major strikes if Nissan did not shelve the scheme.

The Japanese car maker announced the move in January, saying the job cuts were necessary to match falling demand for Pathfinder and Navara [pickup truck] models.

Ivan Castano Freeman