Ford of Britain Employees Give Back in Fight Against COVID-19
Ford Motor Company has announced that most of its manufacturing plants in Europe and the United Kingdom will remain shuttered until at least May 4. In the meantime, Ford of Britain employees are pitching in by assisting community programs aimed at helping those in need and in producing much-needed ventilators.
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Ford of Britain is part of the Ventilator Challenge UK Consortium, which sees several leading manufacturers coming together to build ventilators for the National Health Service. According to Ford of Britain Executive Director of Business Transformation Graham Hoare, at least 600 employees are working on two ventilator designs.
“This is a critical project for the UK, with every ventilator that the consortium can build potentially saving a life,” said Hoare.
The automaker and its employees are also lending a hand to critical agencies and organizations by loaning them 170 vehicles, and the company says it is working with ambulance services to provide support vehicles and fleet management services. Ford of Britain employees are also working to distribute food and medical supplies, provide transportation for healthcare and emergency services workers, and deliver vital equipment where needed. The Bridgend Engine Plant donated 13,500 pairs of gloves, 150 disposable one-piece suits, and safety glasses to Britain health authorities for use in life-saving efforts.
Production suspension extended to May 4
Ford also confirmed that it is eyeing May 4 as a potential start date for several key manufacturing plants in Europe and the United Kingdom. In late March, Ford shut down its manufacturing plants in Spain, Romania, and Germany but stopped short of suggesting a restart date, saying “that this action will continue for a number of weeks.” The automaker closed the Bridgend and Dagenham engine plants in the UK on March 23.
Ford now says that operations in Valencia will remain suspended until at least April 27 and pegs May 4 as a projected end for the shutdown at other plants. The situation will of course depend on the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the automaker’s “return to work” plan will incorporate appropriate measures with respect to social distancing and other appropriate protocols.
“It’s important we give our employees as much clarity as possible on how long the present situation is likely to continue,” said Ford of Europe President Stuart Rowley. “We are hopeful the situation will improve in the coming month; our plans to restart operations, however, will continue to be informed by prevailing conditions and guidance of national governments.”
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