Ford intends to begin the resumption of production at its factories in continental Europe on 4 May, the company has announced, with UK manufacturing to recommence at a later date.
The American manufacturer plans to use a phased approach to restart operations at its assembly plants at Saarlouis and Cologne in Germany, Valencia in Spain and Craiova in Romania.
Production is then set to resume at the Valencia engine plant on 18 May, while operations at Ford’s UK facilities in Bridgend and Dagenham will recommence further down the line – the exact date is as yet unconfirmed.
When production recommences at any of these facilities, it will be at a lower level than usual, the manufacturer prioritising vehicles that have already been sold to customers via dealers. Production will then be ramped up over the coming months until it is fully resumed.
When its plants first reopen, Ford will require anyone entering to wear a face mask and, in some cases, a face shield. Everyone’s body temperature will be checked on entry and all employees will carry out wellness self-assessments at the end of each day. Work areas will also be redesigned to enable social distancing.
Stuart Rowley, president of Ford of Europe, said: “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.
“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.”
Martin Hennig, chairman of the Ford European Works Council, added: “Maintaining the health of our workforce is the top priority when restarting production and returning to work at our plants.
“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.”