America's United Auto Workers (UAW) union has reacted strongly to Nissan's stance on worker representation at the Canton, Mississippi, plant.

The seemingly intractable dispute, which has pitted both sides against each other in a bitter war of words, shows no sign of abating as the two camps stake out their relative positions on union activity at the southern US plant.

"They [Nissan] say they support the UN Global Compact and are signers to the compact," UAW president, Bob King, told just-auto on the sidelines of this year's Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.

"This call[s] for democratic rights of unions to decide if they want worker representation. They really put the fear of job loss in the mind of workers.

"It is a total abrogation of the global standard they say they support. There never has been a vote in that plant."

King earlier insisted the notion southern workers did not want union rights was "false"," adding: "forming a union in the US requires enormous courage and determination to walk through minefields".

The outgoing UAW chief, due to retire shortly, also praised the support of overseas unions which have lent their considerable weight to labour representation in the US.

"We have been touched and moved by the support of unions in other nations for workers in the US," said King. "IG Metall [Germany] have been incredible in supporting the rights of American workers to have rights."

Nissan has consistently countered the UAW's arguments, telling just-auto previoulsy its staff had "voted overwhelmingly in the past" to reject union representation with the labour body's Canton campaign receiving little interest.

“The allegations being made by the UAW against Nissan are unfounded," the automaker said a statement sent to just-auto this week.

"Our history reflects we respect the right of our employees to decide who should represent them. Nissan employees in Canton enjoy jobs that are among the most secure in Mississippi and offer some of the highest manufacturing wages in the state, strong benefits, a working environment that exceeds industry standards and an open dialogue based on transparency and mutual respect.”