Temporary shutdowns at Bosch planned

Bosch associate Randy Lasseter inspects gasoline fuel injectors at the company's North Charleston facility.

The sputtering auto industry will temporarily idle more local workers over the next few months.

Robert Bosch Corp. will shut down its North Charleston factory for a full week in each of the months of April, May and July because of weak demand in the automotive industry, company spokeswoman Becky MacDonald said Wednesday.

The roughly 1,900 workers at the Dorchester County auto parts plant will be out of work without pay around Easter, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, though employees can use vacation or paid leave if they want, MacDonald said.

"We plan to have some days removed from the schedule as part of a plant-wide shutdown," she said. "There could be changes to this based on customer demand by either putting some people back to work or having different lines stay home if demand is lower than we expect."

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MacDonald added that Bosch had not previously completely shut down whole sections of the plant during the economic downturn. "We have had situations where we have shortened hours and cut days here and there, based on demand," she said.

The plant had more than 2,100 workers in December.

Since the beginning of the year, the maker of fuel injectors for diesel and gasoline-powered engines and brake components for the struggling automotive industry has trimmed 240 workers through a combination of voluntary buyouts and layoffs, MacDonald said.