UNION bosses have called for increased workers' pay at a record-breaking North-East car plant.

Unite says Nissan's 6,500-strong workforce warrant wage rises after making more than one million vehicles in the last two years.

The Wearside factory made 501,756 cars in 2013, and the Japanese manufacturer also picked up a What Car magazine award for its new Sunderland-built Qashqai model, which will make its official launch on January 22.

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Nissan told The Northern Echo it values its workforce, but did not comment on Unite's pay demands.

Tony Murphy, Unite national officer, said Nissan's Sunderland team are in the final year of a two-year pay deal, with the union readying itself to prepare a pay claim for January 2015.

He said: “Building over a million cars in two years is a sign of the company’s success, but it is also a sign of the phenomenal achievements of the workforce in Sunderland.

“Nissan must recognise the contribution of the workforce during the next set of pay negotiations.

“Workers deserve a boost in their pay and conditions.

“The company says its workforce sets the benchmark for productivity and quality so it is only right that their pay and conditions matches their effort and expertise.”

Last year, Nissan's workers also helped launch the all-electric Leaf car and its new Note hatchback, and a factory development is now underway to enable the production of the luxury Infiniti Q30 from 2015.

Monthly production also broke the 50,000 barrier in October for the first time in Nissan’s 27-year history of manufacturing in the UK, with eight different models built during the year.

A Nissan spokesman said: “The company has enjoyed an excellent relationship with its workforce since the Sunderland plant was established in the 1980s.

“We value and recognise their contribution to the business over many years.

“With regard to the comments by Unite, we do not comment publicly on internal matters.”