Martorell, 27/01/2021 - As part of SEAT’s commitment to the health of its employees, measures to effectively protect them against COVID-19 continue to be a priority for the company in 2021. Since 1 January, SEAT has performed more than 15,000 tests among its employees and has set up a massive rapid testing plan, which comes into effect tomorrow, whereby more than 10,000 workers at all work centres will be tested for antigens twice a week, with an average of 4,500 tests per day. The aim of this measure is to minimise the risk of outbreaks in the workplace and relieve the public health system in view of the alarming increase in cases in the social sphere and the progress of the British strain of the coronavirus, which has an estimated 56% higher infectious capacity.
SEAT was the first company in Spain to make the decision to massively test its workforce in the first phase of the pandemic. Since April 2020, the company has carried out more than 55,000 tests to date, including PCRs and rapid antigen tests. The detection of positive cases has been very low, as only 0.6% of the workforce tested positive in April, 1% in September and 0.7% in January, which is far below the average positive rate in the industry, which is currently around 10%.
“The health and safety of our employees is and always will be a priority at SEAT”, said SEAT Vice-President for Human Resources and Organisation Xavier Ros. “In the most severe phase of the health crisis we demonstrated our commitment in this regard and implemented measures that have proven to be effective in controlling the virus. That is why we are convinced that continuing in this line of prevention, strictly complying with the recommended measures (facemasks, safety distance and hand hygiene), as well as carrying out mass testing, will help us to protect all those who form part of this company and of the Volkswagen Group in Spain.”
Three-stage vaccination plan
With the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines in Spain, SEAT is working on a plan to vaccinate its workers as the availability of vaccines increases, always in coordination with the Health Department of the Catalan Government. The company has expressed its willingness to the authorities to collaborate in different ways with the vaccination plan for the population and thus contribute to alleviating the burden on the public health system.
With this offer, the company is once again demonstrating its commitment to society and to the fight against the pandemic, as it did in the first wave. Last April, the company manufactured more than 600 emergency ventilators in record time using parts from the windscreen motors of its SEAT Leon model, which were sent to hospitals all over the country at a time when ICUs were overcrowded. SEAT also mobilised to manufacture surgical facemasks in collaboration with other companies, using filters from the paint shop at the Martorell plant, not to mention the donation of 142,000 euros to the #YoMeCorono project against COVID-19.
Apart from this, and with regard to the workers themselves, the company has drawn up a three-stage vaccination plan which is expected to be implemented as the number of available vaccines increases and without interfering with the authorities’ supply plans. In the first phase, the company plans to vaccinate all of its healthcare staff, comprising more than 50 people. In a second stage, and again with the collaboration of the health authorities, it aims to vaccinate all staff at risk and with greater exposure to the virus, before moving on to a mass vaccination phase.
At the same time, and within the framework of the SEAT Healthy Company Scientific Committee, of which Dr. Bonaventura Clotet has been an honorary member and scientific advisor for the past five years, SEAT will offer its employees the opportunity to participate voluntarily in a phase 3 study of vaccines developed against COVID-19.
New medical centres in 2020
In the year of the pandemic, although the company is focusing its efforts on protecting workers from the coronavirus, it has not neglected the expansion of the health services it offers to its workers and Volkswagen Group employees in Spain.
This year, SEAT is launching a new medical centre at the carmaker’s new meeting place in the heart of Barcelona, CASA SEAT. These facilities have been equipped with a permanent medical service to attend to employees, visitors, exhibitors and workers from other Volkswagen Group companies located in the city.
Also in 2020, SEAT and Volkswagen Financial Services launched CARS Madrid, the second SEAT CARS Health Care and Rehabilitation Centre, which offers health care and prevention services to the 1,350 Volkswagen Group employees in Madrid. Located at the finance company’s corporate headquarters in Alcobendas, this new advanced medical centre offers health services in the areas of occupational medicine, nursing consultations, health monitoring activities and medical check-ups, to which physiotherapy and rehabilitation services will be added this year.