Spanish car manufacturer SEAT will carry out PCR tests on its 15,000 employees to ensure their health and safety and avoid COVID-19 infections. PCR diagnostic tests are the most reliable to identify whether the person screened has contracted the COVID-19 virus. The Volkswagen Group owned brand has decided to gradually restart activity on April 27th, and as part of the health and safety measures, has agreed with Spanish union representatives to conduct PCR testing. SEAT is the first company in Spain to do this testing.
There will be more than 3,000 weekly PCR tests for production employees across Spain as well as for the rest of professionals in the company and will be extended to other Volkswagen companies in the country.
A laboratory that has been accredited by the Ministry of Health and the Catalan Government will analyse the tests without affecting public health activities.
SEAT is going to restart production next Monday at the Martorell, Barcelona and Componentes plants. This decision also aims to contribute to reactivating employment at SEAT and supplier companies to limit the economic impact of the health crisis. During the weeks of April 27th and May 4th, one production shift will be working on each of the three lines at SEAT Martorell where the SEAT Ibiza, SEAT Arona, SEAT Leon and Audi A1 are manufactured, at approximately one third of capacity. Overall, the company will produce around 325 cars a day in the first two weeks. As of May 11th, two production shifts will be working on each of the lines, also at a third of their usual volume, which will enable to manufacture around 650 cars a day. SEAT expects to return to the pre-crisis production rate from June on, based on the evolution of COVID-19 and its effects on commercial activity.
To ensure the health and safety of workers, production lines will be adapted to ensure that all employees can maintain the prescribed two-metre safety distance, and if this is not possible within the workplace, additional measures to ensure personal health and safety will be provided. All workers will receive surgical masks and have sanitizing gel at their disposal and facilities will also be thoroughly cleaned before and after each production shift.
With these stringent measures in place, pre-crisis production levels cannot be regained. For this reason, SEAT management and union representatives are negotiating a temporary layoff plan for organisational reasons for the production workers. The temporary layoff will last for a maximum of eight weeks, until production resumes at pre-pandemic pace.
Personnel not linked to the production area will be excluded from the temporary layoff plan. Employees not linked to production have been returning gradually to their work centres since the middle of April and the full return will be complete in the coming weeks.