Airbus fails to reach deal with workers in Germany: union

24th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Negotiations between Airbus and the IG Metall union on a work agreement for 16,000 employees in Germany have broken down, opening the way for possible strike action, the union said Saturday.

"After nearly 12 hours, the employers ended the negotiations. They remain inflexible on raising the productivity rate to eight percent a year. We can't demand that of our colleagues," two of the IG Metall negotiators, Daniel Friedrich and Johann Dahnken, said in a statement.

The failure to reach an agreement came as a surprise after a year and a half of efforts appeared to be about to come to fruition. The work pact covers a range of issues from an employment guarantee in the coming years to a ceiling on hiring temporary workers.

Before the latest round of talks in Hamburg an Airbus spokesman told AFP that negotiations were "near finishing" and that there had been "a lot of progress" recently and they expected to complete the talks "in the next few days."

The spokesman also said the aircraft maker was asking for a five percent productivity rate, not eight percent.

The workers have offered a two percent productivity rate which would amount to about one billion euros between now and 2020 in exchange for guarantees of employment and maintaining Airbus' four sites in northern Germany.

The union will meet on September 28 to decide on its next step which could involve some sort of strike action, the statement said.

Airbus, a unit of European aerospace giant EADS, predicted in a long-term industry forecast on Monday that almost 27,800 passenger and cargo aircraft would be sold for a total of $3.5 trillion (2.6 trillion euros) between 2011 and 2030.

© 2011 AFP

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