Rolls Royce – 4 May
Rolls-Royce is to become the first UK car firm to restart full production after the coronavirus lockdown, with staff returning on May 4. Bosses said that 1,000 employees – half the total workforce – would be back on the production line from that date resuming production of its exclusive Phantom, Wraith, Dawn and Cullinan models. Support staff such as marketing and sales will continue to work from home. The firm’s factory at Goodwood near Chichester will operate one shift daily, rather than the usual two. Staff will wear protective clothing and masks, and will observe social distancing rules in line with Health and Safety advice.
Bentley – 11 May
Bentley’s measures in place for 11 May (and full production restarting on 18 May) are built around seven key areas – prior to leaving work, travel, entry, preparing for work, work stations, breaks, and exiting the site – and are designed to protect staff at the factory, which employs over 4,000 people and where every Bentley is hand-built.
Jaguar Land Rover – 18 May
Britain’s biggest car maker, Jaguar Land Rover, has announced it is to ‘gradually’ resume production at two of its UK plants on May 18 amid ‘robust’ guidelines to support a return to work. Bosses at JLR said that manufacturing will resume at its major assembly line in Solihull, West Midlands, and at its engine plant in Wolverhampton next month. JLR has furloughed around half its workforce – though it has been taking the option to top-up their pay to 100 per cent. It confirmed that around a quarter of the Solihull workforce will return in mid-May – the production hub for SUV models including the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Velar and Jaguar F-Pace.
Nissan – TBC
Nissan has announced plans to begin building cars again in June after suspending production more than six weeks ago. The car giant said its Sunderland plant will remain closed throughout May, with a phased resumption of work the following month. During the lockdown, Nissan staff have used their production and distribution skills to help make personal protective equipment, including visors and gowns, for the NHS. The Japanese firm had previously been piloting new safety measures at the Sunderland plant using 50 members of staff who returned to work last week.
Vauxhall – TBC
French bosses of Vauxhall said that the Ellesmere Port factory – which produces the Astra – has been ‘active’ during the lockdown to implement a protocol of reinforced health measures. This features more than 100 measures, such as checking employees’ temperatures and them self-monitoring symptoms. The wearing of glasses on site will also be supplemented by a daily individual supply of masks, and respecting safe distances between people. Measures include break areas with markings on the floor, keeping doors open – except fire doors – to avoid contact with handles and frequent cleaning of tools. The company will also hang red tape from the factory roof to ensure workers stay two metres apart on the floor, and also place markings in rest areas and even at urinals in the men’s toilets.