Angry Nissan unions will stage 24-hour strikes starting 19 February if the company does not remove or modify a redundancy plan to cut 450 jobs from its Barcelona factory.

The automaker plans to curb "excess" staff at the 4,500-worker factory by axing a shift amid falling demand for some vehicles.

The factory's core vehicles are the Pathfinder and Navara trucks, which it makes for sales world-wide.

Under the plan, Nissan has offered voluntary separation, paying 45 days' wages per year worked up to a maximum of EUR60,000 to compensate workers.

Unions want Nissan to halt the plan or introduce early retirement compensation and other employment alternatives for workers.

"Unless they meet our demands we will consider 24-hour strikes and more than one," said Javier Pacheco, Nissan's representative for top union CCOO. "This company has enough production and sales are doing well."

Nissan could not immediately be reached for comment. The automaker is due to unveil the formal redundancy plan early next week.

On Wednesday morning, workers at Nissan's Zona Franca and nearby Moncada factories staged one-hour strikes and blocked adjacent roads to protest against the scheme, Pacheco said.

At Zona Franca, 1,800 workers protested and blocked a road for 20 minutes. Another 270 workers protested and blocked roads leading to the Moncada site.

There were also plans for similar action last night.

Ivan Castano Freeman