The world’s largest automobile manufacturer, Honda Motors Co, is in shortage of staff due to the coronavirus outbreak. According to the COVID-19 guidelines, the workers who have tested positive, and those who were working close to them must be quarantined. However, those rules strained the Japanese automobile manufacturer’s efforts and quickly led to a shortage of staff.
The report was first cited by WOSU Public Media, a Columbus, Ohio area radio station, and according to an internal email by a staff member of the plant near Marysville, there are very few employees left to meet Honda’s high production demands. To cope with the shortage of staff, Honda’s management asked for temporary office staff to start working on the assembly line. A general manager of the factory claimed that it’s difficult to get temporary replacement staff right now as the federal government has already initiated the $600/week unemployment benefit at the early stage of the pandemic.
“Due to strong customer demand for our products and the need to carefully manage production during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing some temporary staffing issues that require support from associates who do not typically work in production. We have implemented such temporary measures in the past, and are working diligently to attract and hire associates to support our production needs.” – email from Chris Abbruzzese, Honda spokesman.
The office workers who work in research, purchasing, and accounting are now working on the factory floor.
One of Honda Motors employees said, “Regardless of whether or not you wanted to, you could be subject to it. They took volunteers first, but my understanding was they didn’t receive many volunteers for this activity, so then they made it mandatory.”
“I was not very happy about that because I’ve really tried hard to socially distance and keep away from other people during this. So I felt like being forced to go into the floor where I know people have had COVID and tested positive for it. I felt very uncomfortable with that.” mentioned another employee.
Brian Rothenberg of the United Auto Workers union said, “First, we have unionized temp workers to fill in. And if there’s not enough of those, we’ll find other people who were laid off from the nearby area, and then a larger area, and then a larger area, and we’ll call them back to work.”
Hopefully, the situation will get back to normal soon, but until then, it’s safe to assume that we might see the same problem spread to other car manufacturing plants in the US.
Source: Japan Times