Toyota Motor Corporation has restarted a factory in northern France on Tuesday, heading the first vehicle plant reopening in the country where the Coronavirus pandemic shut most industrial sites last month and some unions fiercely opposed the return of workers to assembly lines.
Bloomberg report on Tuesday said a spokesman of the Japanese automaker had confirmed Monday that Toyota would restart the Onnaing factory, near Valenciennes, where the Yaris model is assembled for the European market.
It added that a decision taken last week called for a gradual return to a single shift each day with adjusted working hours.
France has been among the hardest-hit countries in Europe by the health crisis, with the government keeping the country under lockdown until May 11.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe had said the lifting of restrictions on public life would be gradual, while the country had put in place a safety net for workers to prevent unemployment.
But a representative of the CGT union at Toyota in France, Eric Pecqueur, said, “It’s not wise to restart car factories when the virus is still raging. This could be a virus bomb putting workers at risk.”
The site is said to employ about 4,500 people.
French car parts maker Faurecia SE on Monday reported a 13.5 per cent drop in first-quarter sales and warned that while factories had ramped up in China after a protracted shut down due to the virus, operations would be tougher in the second quarter in Europe.

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