April 30, 2020 @ 13:11 by Richard Dawson
The UK’s largest car plant and one of the North East’s biggest employers, Nissan, is planning a phased resumption of production in early June.
Nissan first suspended production on March 17, following a collapse in demand for cars across Europe and growing fears about the spread of the coronavirus.
The company, which employs around 7000 local jobs directly and upwards of 30,000 in the supply chain, has been helping to deliver around 100,000 face visors for the NHS per week, with a team of volunteers working on a makeshift assembly line.
News of a pilot resumption of production at Nissan broke last week, with around 50 staff from the powertrain team returning to work to test new safety protocols and working methods.
This pilot will presumably continue through May, as car production remains suspended.
In the lead up to June, many other manufacturers like Nissan will no doubt be looking at how they can safely return to work.
A Nissan spokesperson said: “During this period the majority of plant employees will remain furloughed, and we are grateful for the Government support that has enabled us to take this action.
“Our goal is to navigate through this crisis while maintaining activities critical for business continuity and to make sure we are prepared for the time when business resumes in Europe and we can welcome the Nissan team back to work.”