Ford has confirmed plans to reopen its manufacturing facilities in mainland Europe through a phased approach from May 4th. The sites located at Saarlouis and Cologne in Germany, Valencia in Spain and Craiova in Romania will all resume operations.
Most of Ford’s vehicle and engine production was halted on April 3rd. The engine plant based in Valencia has a return date of May 18th, whilst the company is yet to announce a date for the sites located in Dagenham and Bridgend, both in the UK, to return to operations.
Ford, along with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are also aiming to resume production on May 18th in the United States. “We need to prepare for a new environment once we are past the initial peak of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, with the key priority in our ‘return to work’ plan being the implementation of Ford’s global standards on social distancing and strengthened health and safety protocols in the workplace,” said Stuart Rowley, president of Ford Europe.
To begin with, workers will resume production at a lower-than-usual level, prioritising sold customer vehicle orders. Ford has worked to produce a comprehensive list, putting together all employee health and safety regulations, including the mandatory need to wear company-provided face masks at all times, body temperature checks and self-assessment procedures daily.
“This is an unprecedented time for our business, but it is bringing out the very best in our people at Ford, so many of whom are engaged in supporting their communities in a multitude of actions across Europe,” Rowley said. “As we begin to restart production, we will take that positive spirit of commitment and pride back into the workplace for the further benefit of our customers.”
“Maintaining the health of our workforce is the top priority when restarting production and returning to work at our plants,” said Martin Hennig, chairman, Ford European Works Council. “Our union leaders across Europe have agreed on far-reaching measures for the best possible protection for our employees, which go beyond the nationally prescribed measures and apply to all our plants in Europe.”
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