A significant demonstration is planned for this afternoon (7 March) outside the Geneva motor show by the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan (MAFFAN), campaigning for union representation at the automaker's US plant.

The movement - backed by powerful US labour body UAW - follows hot on the heels of a similar protest organised at the Detroit auto show in January.

At that event, civil rights activists, politicians, Baptist Ministers and the Hollywood actor, Danny Glover, gathered to protest against what they claim is Nissan's reluctance to allow its Canton, Mississippi, workers to unionise, although the automaker takes a decidedly contrary view insisting its staff have rejected union membership in the past.

"There is going to be a small demonstration this afternoon and we will be joined by union activists - CGAS [Communatue Genevoise d'Action Syndicale] - a local federation of unions in Geneva," a source close to the UAW told just-auto from the Swiss city.

"We are going to continue expanding our campaign internationally, [while] Danny Glover is still involved."

The UAW claims Nissan recognises and collectively bargains with unions all over the world, including Japan, Mexico, Australia, Russia, South Africa, UK and Spain, but maintains in Mississippi, workers and supporters say there is a "climate of fear in the workplace in an effort to intimidate workers to keep them from organizing a union."

Nissan has previously insisted: "The allegations being made by the UAW against Nissan are unfounded. "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.

"Nissan employees have voted overwhelmingly in the past to reject union representation, and just as with past efforts, the UAW's current campaign in Canton, Mississippi, has received little interest among employees."

Nissan workers and community leaders will be at this afternoon's demonstration in the Park Sarasin, next to where the Geneva show is being held at the Palexpo Center.