New Production Restart Dates for Toyota, Hyundai
Toyota and Hyundai are now aiming to bring assembly plants back online later than initially planned. News of the shutdown extension comes as other automakers, notably Fiat Chrysler, Honda, and Nissan, announced a targeted return to work in the first week of May.
Toyota first said April 6th would be the return date, pushing that back to April 17th in late March after the scope and duration of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the U.S. became clear. April 20th was then floated.
Now, Toyota says another two weeks will go by before workers return to the automaker’s four U.S. assembly plants and various powertrain facilities, and the same goes for Canadian and Mexican manufacturing sites. May 4th suddenly seems like a popular choice in the industry.
The company says that workers will be asked to forgo two days of pay during the extension, or give up two paid days of leave. Roughly 5,000 Toyota workers are employed by outside agencies; these workers will not receive pay until work restarts, though health benefits will continue to flow.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action in a timely manner,” the automaker said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the tentative April 13th restart date floated by Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama has fallen by the wayside. The automaker now says workers will return to its Montgomery plant on May 4th, though the automaker hasn’t set the date in stone. During the extension, workers are asked to draw from paid vacation time or leave, with health benefits maintained. Those unable to tap into such reserves will have to apply for employment insurance benefits.
When production does return, Hyundai says measures will be in place to ensure worker safety, including “pre-screening for elevated temperatures, ensuring physical distancing guidelines throughout the facility, expanding cleaning protocols and increasing distribution of health and safety materials.”
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