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Truckmaker Volvo to put all 20,000 Swedish staff on temporary lay off-scheme

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Truckmaker AB Volvo <VOLVb.ST> said on Friday it would put all its 20,000 staff in Sweden on a short-term, temporary lay off-scheme starting next week as it plans to close all production in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The company earlier this week said production at its large plant in Gothenburg and in Ghent would be halted, and that facilities at subsidiary Renault Trucks in France would temporarily close.

“We have reached a frame agreement with the Swedish unions about short-term, temporary lay offs of all employees in Sweden starting next week,” Volvo spokesman Claes Eliasson said.

“The exact details will be decided in local agreements. There will be expections, with key functions and so on.”

Eliasson said he could not say for how long the situation would continue.

“We of course hope for it to be as short as possible. But we are doing this to protect staff, the company, and society,” he said.

On Thursday Volvo’s board withdrew its proposal for an extraordinary dividend in light of the high uncertainty over the impact from the coronavirus spread.

(Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom, editing by Simon Johnson)