Mississippi NAACP's president is calling on Nissan to allow a vote to determine union representation at the automaker's US plant in Canton, as the dispute surrounding labour rights rumbles on in America's south.

The move to allow unions a presence at the Nissan Mississippi site has also been firmly backed by the UAW, whose president, Bob King, told just-auto on the sidelines of the recent Automotive News World Congress in Detroit: "It is a total abrogation of the global standard they say they support - they never has been a vote in that plant."

Nissan vigorously contends the union stance, maintaining its staff, had "voted overwhelmingly in the past" to reject union representation with the labour body's Canton campaign receiving little interest," a position, NAACP president, Derrick Johnson, contends.

"We want Nissan to allow workers to have a vote," Johnson told just-auto. "What Nissan has refused to do is to have a fair election process.

"There has never been a vote at the Nissan plant about whether the workers will have the right to collectively bargain.

"We have made repeated requests of Nissan to allow a fair election - Nissan has ignored or denied these requests."

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

Representatives from French unions, CFDT,CFE-CGC, CGT, Force Ouvriere and pan-European labour body, Industriall, were recently at the Bourse du Travail in Paris, with the UAW, Canton workers and American clergy to support their campaign.

"We want workers to have the basic opportunity to have a free election, free of intimidation and freedom to [have] this democracy we call America," said Johnson.

"The workers at Mississippi are seeking an opportunity, to have an opportunity. Worker rights are civil rights."

Nissan maintains the claims by the UAW are "unfounded," with the automaker adding: "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."