After a shutdown lasting more than two months, carmaker Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile (TPCA) relaunched operations at its plant in the Central Bohemian town of Kolín on Monday. Capacity will be increased gradually and TPCA staff are receiving special training.
At 6 am on Monday its factory began a gradual return to action, with plans to produce around 300 vehicles a day initially. By Friday it should have reached full capacity of 900 a day, spokesman Tomáš Paroubek said.
Initially TPCA will be running two shifts a day. The restart is accompanied by dozens of measures and staff were due to undergo special hygiene training on Monday.
Special thermal cameras monitor workers’ temperatures as they arrive at the plant. If there are signs of elevated temperatures they must then undergo a second test with a non-contact thermometer. Lunch breaks are 10 minutes longer than previously and tables are set apart from one another.
All 2,500 or so workers returned to TPCA on Monday, including non-nationals, who make up at least a tenth of the workforce. Most foreign employees, including Ukrainians, have remained in the country through the crisis, Mr. Paroubek said.
Staff initially received 85 percent of their salaries during the lockdown and 80 percent from the start of May.
The company says it has sufficient orders to keep it going and has secured the transport of vehicles to foreign markets. It has also safeguarded the delivery of parts.
During the enforced shutdown TPCA was working on preparations for the production of a new Yaris model.
However, it was unable to bring the engineers from Japan or other states to install necessary equipment, which has been a setback for what is a major investment project.
Nevertheless the company did continue hiring staff to work on the Yaris during the crisis and aims to take on up to 1,000 new workers.
TPCA is one of the Czech Republic’s biggest exporters and is one of the most significant employers in the region.
The country’s largest exporter, carmaker Škoda Auto, restarted production on April 27. It started out with two shifts before adding a third a fortnight later.
Hyundai was the first of the country’s major auto manufacturers to get back in business. It opened its plant in the Moravian Silesian Region on April 14 after a production outage of only three weeks.