Car giant Ford has announced it is restarting production in the UK after being mothballed during the COVID-19 break.
Work resumes from today at the company’s engine plants in Dagenham, Essex and Bridgend in South Wales.
Together with Valencia Engine Plant in Spain, which restarted production earlier this month, the resumption of production in the UK means that all of Ford’s European manufacturing facilities are back at work.
A limited number of employees had continued to work on company sites in the UK over recent weeks to ensure the ongoing provision of critical services.
“As we return to work at our two engine plants in the UK, our key priority is the implementation of Ford’s global standards on social distancing and strengthened health and safety protocols to safeguard the well-being of our workforce,” said Graham Hoare, chairman of Ford of Britain.
Fellow car marques Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin are also kick starting production in the UK.
But one major issue is from where they will be able to source parts with the supply chain around the world disrupted so heavily by the coronavirus outbreak.
There also concerns that while car showrooms remain closed, anyone who does want to buy new or used may not be able to actually test drive models.
Ford outlined a series of health and safety measures which will be put in place, including requiring anyone entering a Ford facility to use a company-provided face mask, and a face shield in select manufacturing positions and other positions where social distancing cannot be met.
Everyone entering a Ford facility will have their body temperature checked with scanning equipment, and a daily, wellness self-assessment of workers will be made.
Work areas are being redesigned to ensure social-distancing guidelines are maintained and there will be a phased return to work to reduce employee density in buildings and on production lines.
Up to 2,000 Jaguar Land Rover workers returned to work at its Solihull factory on May 11, while the company’s engine plant in Wolverhampton started to see a gradual revamp of staff numbers last week.
Aston Martin has started a phased return to work for a number of its manufacturing staff at its manufacturing facility in St Athan, Wales.
Production workers at the company’s global headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, will follow at a later date, as will office and support staff at Aston Martin’s various other UK sites.