CATALONIA’S government has not ruled out nationalising car-maker Nissan’s five plants, which the company wants to close, in a move that could affect up to 20,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The company employs 3000 people at the five sites in Barcelona, but many more in the supply chain depend on them. Nissan announced the closures on Thursday, prompting a series of protests and a pledge from President Quim Torra, and his deputy Pere Aragones, to fight to retain them.

“The company can’t just pack up and go and leave its workers behind,” said Aragones. “The Catalan government will seek resources wherever it can to get the company to reverse this decision and to support the workers.”

Nissan has received more than €25 million (£22.5m) for various projects over the past 20 years.

In a radio interview yesterday, the Catalan business and knowledge minister, Angels Chacon, said they could consider nationalising them, although the budget for such a move would require discussion: “The generalitat [Catalan government] does not have the budgetary margin for such an operation. I do not rule it out, but we have to talk to the [Spanish] government.”