Monday, 20 July 2020
Makita Manufacturing Europe Limited’s very positive reaction to Covid-19
Makita is a professional power tool factory with a deep commitment in the UK and their factory is aptly based in the birthplace of the industrial revolution here in Telford, employing over 450 people.
Their facility produces over 1 million power tools per year, of which 33% are sold directly into the UK market. Makita has maintained it's manufacturing presence in the UK for over 29 years and has faced many challenges over its proud history, including recessions, exchange rate fluctuations, Brexit uncertainty and now Coronavirus.
As a responsible employer, at the outset of the Coronavirus, they closely followed events around the World as the full extent of the pandemic unfolded. They carefully studied the advice provided by the UK Government bodies and developed immediate responsive measures. They also utilised the experiences and advice given by their Mother Factory in Japan, however, even with these efforts, they were sadly forced to close temporarily on 25 March 2020 to protect their employees’ health.
As a Business, they decided that their employees should not face financial loss or worry during that time period and, whilst the factory closed, their employees received 100% of their salary. As a Business they very much appreciated access to the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, which covered 80% of salaries. For the additional 20% they agreed with employees to bank the 20% (in terms of hours) which would be repaid in time upon their return to work.
With strong support from a core of their employees, the factory was transformed over a 3-week period, when social distancing measures were put in place to enable them to restart their factory, which they successfully did on 15 April 2020. The time they were afforded also gave them the opportunity to install many Coronavirus safe working practices e.g.
- New break-room facilities have been opened.
- New working shift patterns have been implemented.
- Anyone entering the site is required to have their temperature taken.
- Clear 2 metre social distancing markings have been put in place across our site.
- Protective Perspex screening has been implemented in areas where 2 metre distancing is not practicable.
Everyone at Makita in Telford has recently celebrated the 30 millionth tool which was made on the 1st July 2020; a JV181 brushless jigsaw. They are also in the enviable situation of having a very bright future, with a full order book and being provided with 10+ new models to produce over the next 18 months.
They acknowledge that all the above would not have been possible without the commitment and hard work of their professional employees and for this they are very grateful and proud.
Councillor David Wright, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for the Economy, said
“I would like to praise Makita because their safe working practices have been extraordinary. Within three weeks, they had erected marquees for break out areas, extra washing stations, extra smoking areas, perspex screens in the manufacturing areas, staggered shifts and the compulsory wearing of masks.
Makita are rightly proud of their safe working environment and that can only give a reassurance to staff during very difficult and worrying times.”
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