Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, our main focus has been on the health of our employees and, in addition, on maintaining our supply chains.
We have restricted business travel. Travel that is absolutely necessary for business purposes is permissible only in isolated cases and when it has been specifically approved.
We are supporting affected sites, for example by providing our employees with personal protective equipment, if available.
Furthermore, we have expanded mobile work in those countries where the virus is currently most prevalent. Of employees who are able to work from home, more than 95 percent or about 85,500 are currently doing so.
In periods of crisis, financial liquidity is of top priority. To this end, we are cutting our costs, optimizing our working capital and postponing projects and investments that are not urgently required until further notice. We are, however, continuing to push ahead at full steam with key development projects as well as preparations for upcoming production start-ups. In this way, we are safeguarding our ability to function effectively and confidently.
The numerous steps we have taken are in line with the respective market requirements and the regulations issued by local authorities. We are also coordinating with employee representatives. At present, more than 40 percent of Continental’s 249 production locations worldwide have temporarily ceased activities for a few days to several weeks in order to protect the employees and in response to the drop in demand.
Please be understanding of the fact that we cannot provide any figures regarding costs and knock-on effects at this point in time. These are not foreseeable.
Due to the reduced working time, about 30,000 employees and thus half of the current workforce in Germany alone have been registered for short-time work as at April 1, 2020. This affects all corporate functions – from production and research and development through to administration, including employees at Continental’s headquarters in Hanover. Certain business units already started reducing working hours in mid-March 2020.
Continental is also making use of such options in countries in which comparable instruments for shorter working hours are available. The company is currently considering how it can support affected employees in countries where there are no comparable instruments that safeguard the employees’ take-home pay.
Continental’s Executive Board has therefore decided to voluntarily forego 10 percent of its monthly income for the month of April. A large number of executives are already foregoing parts of their salary and are contributing a similar amount on average.
In some countries, as in Germany, the Executive Board has called upon executives to similarly demonstrate their voluntary solidarity.