Ford to restart plants across UK and Europe
Ford is planning to restart production across all its UK and European manufacturing facilities next week, backed by social distancing and health and safety protocols.
The move will see production resume at the carmaker’s Dagenham engine plant in Essex and Bridgend engine plant in South Wales from 18 May. The plants had shuttered operations on 23 and 25 March respectively at the start of the pandemic, when Ford brought forward its summer shutdown.
The Valencia engine plant in Spain will also restart production next week, meaning all of Ford’s European manufacturing facilities will be back in operation.
The carmaker also confirmed last week that it’s finalising plans to get factory production in the US, Canada and Mexico up and running by the end of May.
Ford said a limited number of employees had been continuing to work on company sites in the UK over recent weeks to ensure the ongoing provision of critical services, while non-production employees whose roles require specialist equipment only available onsite had started to return to work in greater numbers from 4 May.
The return to work is being backed by social distancing and employee health and safety measures, which include mandating that anyone entering a Ford facility must use a company-provided face mask – produced inhouse to avoid impacting NHS supplies – and a face shield in certain areas.
It’s also scanning body temperature for anyone entering a Ford facility and has redesigned work areas and phased the return to work to ensure social distancing guidelines are maintained.
The carmaker will also continue its work to build ventilator sub-assemblies for the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium, which is supplying the National Health Service with the units. The facility used in the assembly of the ventilators is separate from the main engine plant buildings at Dagenham and has no impact on engine production.
“The past few months have been an extraordinary period for our business and our country, but throughout the pandemic Ford people have shown the strength of character that truly makes them the Backbone of Britain,” said Graham Hoare, chairman, Ford of Britain.
“From building sub-assemblies for the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium at Dagenham, to manufacturing face masks at our Dunton Campus, and from loaning in excess of 200 vehicles to more than 40 organisations including 10 National Health Service ambulance trusts, to those in our workforce engaged in supporting their communities in a wide range of actions, Ford employees have made a valuable contribution to this country’s fight against coronavirus.”