Skoda is preparing to resume production at its Czech plants on 27 April. The company announced the decision through a press release, saying that all possible protection measures have been taken to prevent employees from becoming infected by the coronavirus.
It has been more than a month since the carmaker had stopped production after the coronavirus outbreak forced shutdown across Europe.
Skoda Auto CEO, Bernhard Maier, said, “Production at our three Czech sites has been suspended since 18 March 2020. It was the right decision to take such drastic action in order to keep everyone safe. But now the time has come to start looking ahead with great optimism once more. Skoda dealerships are gradually reopening across Europe, and by successively resuming production, we are also taking the next important step in order to be able to internationally deliver vehicles to the markets again."
Skoda issued a statement saying it has taken more than 80 individual precautions, defined together with the social partner KOVO Union, include both specific steps to keep the workforce healthy and organisational provisions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace.
Michael Oeljeklaus, Skoda Auto Board Member for Production and Logistics, added, “Throughout the entire shutdown, we’ve been giving preparations for the restart of production our full attention. In addition to safeguarding our supply chains, we have also looked at the opportunities for our members of staff who commute to work across borders."
To ensure safety, Skoda said it will provide all workers with face masks, which will have to be worn at all times while at work. The company has planned each shift so that there is enough time to to clean tools, telephones and keyboards as well as any materials and surfaces. This is besides regular sanitisation drives in all areas.
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Skoda has also made some changes to daily operations in order to protect the workforce. These include adapting the way staff shuttles operate, and altering procedures at factory gates, reception points and in the canteens, as well as how working hours are recorded.
Other provisions have been made for staff in production to work in smaller, fixed teams. Briefings at shift changeover are to be as short as possible, and more break-time areas have been made available in order to keep personal contact and the risk of infection to a minimum.
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Alongside these precautions, general precautionary measures and hygiene recommendations – such as refraining from shaking hands, regularly washing or disinfecting hands, and avoiding touching face with hands – are also advised by the company.