Airbus could shed jobs despite political pressure

19th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 19, 2006 (AFP) - Airbus would close factories and shed jobs if necessary even in the face of objections by unions and politicians, a senior executive at parent group EADS told the Wall Street Journal Europe on Thursday.

PARIS, Oct 19, 2006 (AFP) - Airbus would close factories and shed jobs if necessary even in the face of objections by unions and politicians, a senior executive at parent group EADS told the Wall Street Journal Europe on Thursday.

"Everything is on the table," the newspaper quoted EADS co-chief executive Thomas Enders as saying in an interview.

A recently announced rescue plan for Airbus, which has been hit with serious delays to its flagship A380 superjumbo jet program and doubts over another key model, is expected to result in job cuts, factory consolidation and production of parts outside Europe.

But trade unions and some politicians in France and Germany have warned of the possible consequences, leading many observers to wonder if political meddling could derail the restructuring.

Enders told the Wall Street Journal, however, that "background noise" from officials would not affect decisions by Airbus or its parent group, the European Aeronautics Defence and Space Company.

Directors, he said, were "dedicated to the far-reaching renewal that Airbus has to go through".

The EADS co-chief executive noted that his group had already made tough choices to improve the state of other units, saying "we did unpleasant things" to turn loss-making divisions around.

Airbus said Tuesday it would not renew the contracts of about 1,000 temporary staff as part of its cost-cutting measures.

"Around 1,000 temporary staff will be affected by the measure" out of a total 7,300 people employed by Airbus on temporary contracts in Germany, a company statement said.

Enders told the Wall Street Journal that his French co-chief executive Louis Gallois, a former civil servant and former head of French railway service SNCF, who is to oversee the rescue plan dubbed Power8, was experienced in handling tough talks with unions.

But the German executive attacked a mooted plan for the German state to take a direct stake in EADS, saying that "would be going back to the Stone Age".

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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