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Tue, Feb 27, 2007

Report: Airbus To Cut 8,000 Jobs in Europe

French Union Threatens "Fireworks"

Citing company sources, the German daily Die Welt reported Tuesday as part of its restructuring plan, Airbus is to cut a total of 8,000 jobs from its payroll, with 3,500 being lost in Germany and 4,200 in France.

According to French press reports, factories in the French cities of Saint Nazaire and Meaulte and the German sites of Varel and Nordenham may be sold off in the restructuring plan agreed Monday by the board of directors of EADS, Airbus's parent company.

As Aero-News reported, late Monday EADS announced its board of directors had unanimously approved the 'Power8' plan to restructure Airbus, which has been hit by huge losses because of production problems and resulting delivery delays of its A380 'super-jumbo' aircraft, according to the company.

Through the cuts, Airbus aims to achieve an increase in operating profit of some 2.1 billion euros ($2.7 billion US) in 2010, along with a cumulative increase in cash flow of 5 billion euros over the next three years.

"If we do not like the way the production is shared out among the various sites or if sites are sold, we will provoke veritable fireworks," Airbus works council co-president Jean-Francois Knepper told the French daily newspaper, Le Parisien. "Our trade union is violently opposed to the sale of any sites, and especially those of Meaulte and Saint Nazaire."

An announcement last week by French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin that 10,000 jobs would be lost at Airbus sparked a furor in Germany and France, where most of the company's staff of 57,000 are employed according to the French newspaper.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Jacques Chirac met Friday near Berlin to stake out their respective country's interests, according to the newspaper. They agreed that cuts had to be made and that they should fall equally on the two countries.

According to Germany's Deutsche Presse-Agentur, it was clear at the summit that, apart from the job losses, the division of the technological expertise was of key importance to the two leaders.



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