Airbus job losses to top German-French meeting

22nd February 2007, Comments 0 comments

Berlin (dpa) - Pending job cuts at Airbus are to top the agenda at a meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Jacques Chirac near Berlin on Friday, German press reports said Thursday, despite government denial. A Bremen newspaper reported on the basis of government sources Tuesday that the European aircraft manufacturer would sell the northern German plants at Varel and Nordenham, where 3,500 are employed. The Weser Kurier said a total of 3,700 jobs would go in Germany. The plan

Berlin (dpa) - Pending job cuts at Airbus are to top the agenda at a meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Jacques Chirac near Berlin on Friday, German press reports said Thursday, despite government denial.

A Bremen newspaper reported on the basis of government sources Tuesday that the European aircraft manufacturer would sell the northern German plants at Varel and Nordenham, where 3,500 are employed.

The Weser Kurier said a total of 3,700 jobs would go in Germany. The plants at Hamburg, Bremen and Stade would be retained, it said.

The paper said the decision would be made this weekend, immediately after the Merkel-Chirac meeting at Meseberg in Brandenburg, where the two leaders were likely to defend their respective national interests.

On Tuesday, German government spokesman Thomas Steg insisted no decisions had yet been taken as part of the "Power 8" restructuring plan put forward by Airbus head Louis Gallois.

The German government's view was that management should be left to take the decisions on where the cuts would fall, Steg said, insisting that the Meseberg meeting "won't be an Airbus summit."

The speculation was kicked off on Tuesday when French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said Airbus planned to cut 10,000 jobs.

Airbus is looking to save 2 billion euros (2.6 billion dollars) per year beginning in 2010 to make up for huge losses incurred by delivery delays in the company's future flagship, the A380 superjumbo aircraft.

Most of Airbus' 57,000 workers are employed in Germany and France, with some 8,000 in Britain making the wings.

German Economics Minister Michael Glos has repeatedly warned that German defence orders for Airbus' parent company EADS could be cancelled if the country's Airbus workers are disproportionately affected.

The Merkel-Chirac meeting is the first to be held at the German government's new guesthouse, a restored 18th century baroque-style palace 95 kilometres north of Berlin.

DPA

Subject: German news

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