This is what the corona crisis means for french automotive suppliers – one infected at bosch

This is what the corona crisis means for French automotive suppliers - one infected at bosch

Bosch plant manager martin schultz sounds relieved on the phone. One of the approximately 7000 employees in bamberg is carrying the corona virus. This was confirmed at the beginning of the week. Nevertheless, work continues at upper franconia’s largest industrial plant. "It’s fortunately not problematic because the person in question hasn’t been at the plant for two weeks", reports schultz.

The company doctor immediately sent the employee, who was on vacation when he became infected, to quarantine at home when he returned. That was at the beginning of march. According to bosch the employee shows no symptoms.

Stop at VW, audi, and skoda

Yesterday, however, a different message put the auto suppliers in the region on alert. Due to the spread of the coronavirus, carmaker volkswagen plans to temporarily suspend production at numerous plants. The last shift is scheduled to start the day after tomorrow at most of the sites, as the works council in wolfsburg announced on tuesday. In the past few days, there have been the first confirmed cases of covid 19 infection at VW plants in germany. Bander also at audi at a standstill as of monday. With skoda, another VW subsidiary plans to shut down its plants as early as 10 p.M. Tonight, according to a letter from company management to employees yesterday.

Two meter minimum distance

Katja herrmann, press spokeswoman for the automotive supplier brose, did not want to make any concrete statements about the effects of the production stops at the carmakers for their own manufacturing operations. The current situation is too unstable. There is a special team at brose that analyzes the worldwide development of the situation on a daily basis and continuously adjusts the purchase price. Hygiene standards at brose have been further tightened in the meantime. For example, the employees were instructed to keep the recommended minimum distance of two meters.

Exactly this had become a problem at VW. The employee representatives criticized the fact that work on the assembly lines is done shoulder to shoulder. The robert koch institute, on the other hand, recommends minimum distances that cannot be observed at the individual work stations.

At schaeffler, "it is still too early for us to comment on VW’s announcement, said company spokeswoman bettina lichtenberg. However, the protective measures for the employees had been extended. "In the meantime, we no longer allow any travel between the various scha effler sites", said lichtenberg.

Only warm food

Bosch plant manager martin schultz points out that his company is not tied to the automakers’ body plants. Rather, bosch in bamberg cooperates with the engine plants. And they had a completely different rhythm. "We are continuing as normal,", schultz said about the situation until yesterday. They have also not yet announced any short-time work. "There is no reason for that at the moment."

"We are a manufacturing plant

All in all, bosch in bamberg has recently introduced new hygiene and behavioral rules to protect its employees. In this way, the canteens only serve heated or. Warmed food distributed. According to schultz, employees can work in their home offices in consultation with their supervisors, provided that their job allows it. In this respect, the closure of the schools and daycare centers since the beginning of the week has had no effect on operations at the bamberg plant. However, the plant manager made a caveat about working from home: "we are a manufacturing plant, and that lives from presence." But in essence everything runs very quietly.

Nevertheless, schultz is under no illusions about infecting other employees at his plant. "It’s just a question of time", he says. At least there is a glimmer of hope from china. There, where the coronavirus pandemic broke out and car manufacturers temporarily had to shut down entire factories, the situation recently eased a bit.


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