14,000 Workers Stage Work Stoppage At French Plants
In the aftermath of Wednesday's announcement of job cuts for
10,000 Airbus workers throughout Europe, labor unions say the
planemaker and its parent company should prepare for massive
protests, and work stoppages.
"We will not simply accept the concept of the EADS board," said
Rüdiger Lütjen, the head of the Airbus Germany works
council, to the International Herald Tribune. "We will fight for
Union officials report some organized efforts have already
begun. On Wednesday -- hours after details of the restructuring
plan laid out by parent company EADS, in its attempt to makeover
the struggling manufacturer -- nearly 14,000 blue- and-
white-collar workers at four French sites stopped work for two
"The response has been massive," said Force Ouvriere spokesman
Julien Talavan, adding French and German workers are planning
coordinated protests by the middle of this month. "This is just the
Airbus CEO Louis Gallois said the company expects most of the
job cuts will come from subcontractors and temporary employees --
limiting losses among Airbus workers to around 5,000. Gallois added
the company would seek those remaining cuts through early
retirement plans, and voluntary layoffs... but he added the company
would resort to forced layoffs if necessary.
As Aero-News reported
Wednesday, Airbus has over 56,000 employees throughout
its plants in the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Germany. The
"Power8" restructuring plan calls for 3,200 jobs to be cut at
French factories, and another 1,100 corporate-level jobs at the
company's Toulouse headquarters. German facilities will suffer
3,700 job losses, with 1,600 UK workers getting the axe and another
400 in Spain.
Airbus plans to court partners for
three plants -- Filton in the UK, Meaulte in France and Germany's
Nordenham. The company will sell its Laupheim, St. Nazaire-Ville
and Varel plants outright.
The planemaker's newest widebody offerings, the A380 superjumbo
and the A350XWB, are the reason for much of Airbus' current
economic misfortunes. A series of production delays have plagued
the A380, pushing its scheduled delivery date 22 months past what
was originally promised. Last year, the company's original A350
proposal underwent a costly redesign, to make it more competitive
against Boeing's upcoming 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus has also suffered against a weakening American dollar.
Airbus' parts and production costs are in euros... but the planes
are sold in dollars.
"A strong euro is a choice," Gallois said Wednesday.
"Unfortunately, I am not in charge of the currency policy of