Renault Samsung Motors said it would suspend operations at its sole plant located in the South Korean city of Busan this week for 11 days as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to hold back its sales worldwide.

The South Korean automaker, owned 80% by Renault, had closed the plant previously for four days in February due to shortages of components from Chinese suppliers at the height of the COVID-19 crisis in that country. 

The company said the closure would allow its employees to enjoy an extended holiday during ‘family month’.

Earlier in April, its unionised workers agreed to basic wages freeze for 2019 and annual bonuses of KRW8.88m (US$7,243) per worker. 

Renault-Samsung said it had agreed to work more closely with union representatives and workers to get through the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Its global sales fell 28% to 28,390 units in the first quarter of 2020 from 39,210 units in the same period of last year.