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May 13, 2020

PSA to resume Luton van production

Having put employee protection measures in place, PSA Group plans to resume van production at its factory in Luton, England, on 18 May.

By Olly Wehring

Having put employee protection measures in place, PSA Group plans to resume van production at its factory in Luton, England, on 18 May.

"Since the shutdown of our site, we have implemented a reinforced health protocol on our industrial site with the support of our medical service and in close collaboration with our union partners," said Colin MacDonald, director of the Luton plant.

"Thanks to this collective effort, validated by the audit that took place on 4 May, we can resume the manufacturing of the commercial vehicles on Monday 18 May, in a progressive and safe manner."

The plant, the former Bedford van factory in Luton reorganised in the mid 1980s as a joint venture with Isuzu, IBC Vehicles, is now the only one left assembling vehicles on the once vast Vauxhall site where most other buildings have been demolished and new housing is under construction. In recent years it built Renault Trafic vans with Vauxhall, Opel, Renault and Nissan badging and nameplates but now builds Vauxhall and Opel variants of PSA's medium van line.

"Protecting our employees and protecting our company remain the two intangible principles for the management of our operations," said Yann Vincent, PSA Group EVP manufacturing.

"Our enhanced measures protocol offers a high level of protection to our employees and is the first criterion for restarting our manufacturing sites.

"As industrial activity is driven by commercial activity, which is our second criterion, we are gradually and securely relaunching our industrial system to manufacture the [vehicles] expected by our customers.

"These two criteria will guide our decisions for the coming weeks and months."

Since the start of the Covid-19 health crisis, PSA priority has been to protect the health of its employees and ensure the sustainability of the company.

During the production shutdown it deployed a protocol of reinforced health measures adapted for each site.

Built with the health services, this protocol has been widely shared with unions and was subject to systematic audits.

Auditors will also be responsible for daily verifying of the application of barrier measures and gestures on the site and implementing corrective actions, if necessary.

Measures implemented include:

  • Use wherever possible of individual transport. For carpooling and public transport, provision of masks and predefined loading rule (staggered placement from the back of the bus)
  • Temperature check at the entrance to the site, in addition to symptom self-monitoring file
  • Individual supply of masks and hydro alcoholic gel
  • Wearing glasses and masks on site
  • Respect for a distance between people throughout the site, including rest areas, smoking areas with floor markings
  • Keep doors open (except fire doors) to avoid contact with the handles
  • Frequent cleaning of tools and work surfaces
  • Waiting time during any exchange of parts not prepared in the PSA environment
  • Adjustment of rotations between team shifts to avoid crossovers

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