Defence News India: In order to minimize the impact of the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic on the delivery schedule of F-35 fighter jets, US defence major Lockheed Martin has announced an alternate week work schedule for its employees.
The new work schedule is aimed at mitigating the impact of the novel coronavirus on the F-35 programme and ensure fastest possible recovery by adjusting work schedules, maintaining specialized employee skill-sets, and accelerating payments to small and vulnerable suppliers.
On May 19 Lockheed Martin and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) agreed to a temporary alternate work schedule for F-35 production line employees in Fort Worth to maintain their skilled workforce.
Covid-19 impact on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 delivery schedule
“The alternate work schedule maintains the specialized skill set of the employees and provides opportunities to us to adjust our workflow to account for supplier delays due to COVID-19,” said Michele Evans, Executive Vice President of Aeronautics division.
“These are challenging times, but managing tough challenges is when the F-35 program performs at its best,” Michele Evans said.
The new schedule, which begins on May 23, divides each shift into three groups. On a rotation, each group will work for two weeks and then will have a week off.
Lockheed Martin-International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) agreement
During the adjusted three-week work schedule, employees who work 96 hours or more will be compensated an additional 24 hours for their off week while receiving full pay and benefits.
The alternate schedule allows Lockheed Martin to staff the production line to meet a slower workflow resulting from supplier delays.
In addition, it provides a work rhythm that retains the expertise of the talented workforce and provides opportunities to adjust work to better support production.
“Our F-35 workforce is the best in the world at what they do, and we will continue to deliver on our customer’s mission,” Michele Evans noted.
The temporary alternate work schedule agreement will continue for its first three-week cycle. The company will then evaluate business needs and can alter the schedule as needed with the option to discontinue as warranted or continue until September 4.
Lockheed Martin and the IAM have also agreed to allow employees to volunteer to be furloughed for 30 days where they maintain their benefits but forgo pay during this period.
Our employees are adapting to at-home workspaces and ensuring flight tests, avionics inspections and program milestones are met — every time.
— Lockheed Martin (@LockheedMartin) May 20, 2020