French court orders Renault plant to halt production over virus fears

A woman wearing a face mask leaves the plant of the French Renault car maker in Sandouville, northern France, on May 7, 2020; the Le Havre judiciary courthouse has said French car maker Renault must suspend a return to production during the COVID-19 pandemic

A French court on Thursday ordered French auto giant Renault to suspend production that had resumed at a plant in northern France due to insufficient precautions against the coronavirus.

The car factory at Sandouville, which has almost 2,000 employees, resumed work on April 28 after stopping on March 16 due to the epidemic.

But the court in Le Havre ordered it to stop production until further notice because the resumption did not “ensure the safety of workers in the factory facing the risk linked to COVID-19”, according to the court order first reported by Norman media Le Poulpe of which NYK Daily obtained a copy.

The court ordered that production be suspended “for the time it takes to effectively implement measures” and also told the company to carry out a risk assessment.

French courts have already ordered US online retailing giant Amazon to restrict its operations in France pending an evaluation of virus risks to its staff.

Amazon said on Thursday it now planned to extend the closure of its distribution centres in France as a result of the ruling until May 13.

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