Ford says its Dagenham Engine Plant in Essex, U.K., and Bridgend Engine Plant in South Wales will restart Monday, the same day most of the automaker’s North American manufacturing facilities resume production.
Together with the Valencia Engine Plant in Spain, which also restarts production next week, the reopening of Dagenham and Bridgend means all of Ford’s European manufacturing facilities will be back on line after shutting down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nonproduction employees who must use specialist equipment only available onsite started to return to work in increasing numbers on May 4, Ford says. Nonproduction employees able to work remotely will continue to do so for now.
Ford announced in June 2019 it would shut down the 1,300-employee Bridgend plant in September. The factory’s last products will be V-6 and V-8 engines supplied to Jaguar Land Rover.
“As we return to work at our two engine plants in the U.K., 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,” says Graham Hoare, Ford of Britain chairman.
Ford says its global standards exceed the U.K. government’s current guidance.
The automaker will continue to build ventilator sub-assemblies for the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium which is supplying the National Health Service with the units needed for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The facility used in the assembly of the ventilators is separate from Dagenham’s main engine plant buildings and engine production is not affected.
Ford also is producing face masks for its employees in the U.K. and across Europe, reducing demand for personal protection equipment also needed by the National Health Service and other industries.
Meanwhile, French automaker PSA says it will reopen its commercial-vehicles plant at Luton, U.K., on Monday. The plant is adopting many of the same health measures in place at Ford and other automakers.