Ford has confirmed that it intends to restart initial production at most of its main continental European vehicle and engine plants from May 4.
Manufacturing will resume on May 4 in a phased approach at Saarlouis Vehicle Assembly Operations and Cologne Assembly Operations and Engine Plant in Germany; Valencia Vehicle Assembly Operations in Spain; and Craiova Vehicle Assembly Operations and Engine Plant in Romania.
Production will restart at Valencia Engine Plant in Spain on May 18, while the resumption date for Ford’s Dagenham and Bridgend Engine Plants in the United Kingdom will be confirmed at a later date.
“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. Our employees need to know that we are taking the appropriate steps to safeguard their well-being at work,” said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe.
Production will start at a low level, prioritizing sold customer vehicle orders from dealers, and will gradually be ramped-up over the next few months before full production is resumed. The production plans take into account supplier readiness, national movement restrictions and, Ford dealer sales sites reopening in key markets, as well as customer demand.
“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.”
A comprehensive list of Ford global standards on social distancing and employee health and safety actions in Ford’s manufacturing and other facilities across Europe will be implemented.
The company also will provide all employees with a personal ‘care kit’ on their return to work. The care kits include disposable face masks, reusable thermometer and other hygiene items.
Ford will produce face masks for use at its facilities across Europe. Company-provided face masks will be required to be worn by anyone working at or visiting a Ford site, in line with the company’s global protocols. By producing face masks for its own use, Ford is helping reduce demand on stretched supply chains for personal protection equipment also needed by medical services and other industries.
A limited number of employees have continued to work on company sites over recent weeks to ensure the on-going provision of critical services. From May 4, these activities also will begin to ramp up on a progressive basis towards more normal business levels.
Additionally, employees in non-production areas also will start to return in a phased approach from May 4, with priority given to those participating in key restart planning and business critical activities, or whose job functions require them to use specialized equipment only available at Ford sites, such as vehicle testing apparatus. Other non-production employees who can work remotely will continue to do so for the present time, including those employees on short-time working arrangements.
“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. 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,” said Rowley.