Skoda Auto production line

William Malcolm

Skoda Auto, TPCA To Halt Production Wednesday

Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile (TPCA) will discontinue production at its factory in Cologne today before midnight due to current coronavirus pandemic developments. Initially, the production lines were to be stopped on 25 March.

“The health and safety of employees and stakeholders come first. For this reason, we announced yesterday’s planned line shutdown next week. We continued discussions with other Toyota plants in Europe, which led us to decide to shut down as soon as possible instead,” he said. The company continues to work closely with suppliers to ensure a smooth shutdown of the lines.

About 2,500 people currently work at TPCA, and the company is one of the largest exporters in the Czech Republic and also the largest employer in the Kolín region.

Škoda Auto, Mladá Boleslav, also decided to stop production. Production lines will be stopped at 22:00 in all three production plants in the Czech Republic today – in Mladá Boleslav, Kvasiny, and Vrchlabí. Employees should return to their workplaces on Monday, 6 April, in the morning. Mayor of Mlada Boleslav Raduan Nwelati (ODS) is worried that foreign workers will not respect quarantine.

The automaker employs approximately 34,000 people in the Czech Republic, and more than 3,000 people work in Škoda through employment agencies.

Employees will receive 70 percent of salary from 18 March to 29 March, then 75 percent. There are already two confirmed cases of coronavirus infection. Škoda Auto is a leading company in the Czech Republic, with subcontractors from all over the Czech Republic. According to the Automotive Industry Association, for many Czech suppliers, Škoda represents between one fifth and 30 percent of their production.

Trade union leader Jaroslav Povšík said that the measure is particularly important in terms of maintaining people’s employment even at times when the employer would otherwise have to lay off. Employees are provided with better financial conditions than unemployment benefits.