Break time behind the plexiglass: the Renault factory is restarting in France

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FLINS-SUR-SEINE, France (Reuters) – With temperature scanners on the door and tables partitioned by plexiglass shields in the escape area, workers from one of the Renault (RENA.PA) French factories are adapting to new routines as automakers attempt to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

FILE PHOTO: The Renault logo is visible at the Renault car factory in Flins as the French manufacturer accelerates car production with new safety and health measures during the coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19) in France , May 6, 2020. / Photo taken on November 26, 2018 / REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes

Like its peers across Europe, Renault is gradually ramping up production after epidemic-related shutdowns, as governments begin to relax certain lock-in rules.

Inside the Flins factory north-west of Paris, where Renault manufactures its Zoe electric models and the Micra car for its partner Nissan, health protocols now even restrict the way coffee breaks are organized – in an overview of measures to be taken in other industries as the outages continue. survey.

Most retailers are expected to reopen in France from May 11, while train and luxury goods factories are also picking up.

On Wednesday, workers in Flins made their way through tents at the entrance, where thermal scanners took their temperature.

Wearing gloves and masks, employees took place at marked locations on the assembly line and followed the instructions to spray their tools with disinfectant at the end of their shift.

During a 15-minute break, colleagues chatted through the plexiglass shields separating them on tables of four.

Although these measures have enabled Renault to restart manufacturing, it is still not known when it could resume its normal activities.

The health crisis has weighed on auto demand and dealerships are still closed in many countries, with car outlets not expected to reopen in France until next week.

Renault, in particular, was already struggling with lacking demand before the coronavirus crisis and was looking to cut costs.

“At the moment we are only working at half of our normal production capacity,” Jean-Luc Mabire, plant manager at Flins, told the press. This is due to sanitary measures, he said, with only one shift per day instead of two to limit overlap.

The site produced some 750 cars a day and was now 300 after it reopened last week, added Mabire. Renault has restarted production in most of its factories worldwide, with the exception of India and the majority of its other French factories, where workers have been placed in state-funded short-time work .

“It’s great to see our colleagues again,” said Joffrey Renard, an employee of Flins. “And for me, it’s also good to get my salary back. “

Report by Thierry Chiarello and Gonzalo Fuentes, Editing by Sarah White; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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