French Airbus workers set for strike action

1st March 2007, Comments 0 comments

TOULOUSE, France, March 1, 2007 (AFP) - Workers at France's Airbus factories are set to go on strike on Tuesday to protest against major cutbacks by the European aircraft maker involving the loss of about 4,000 jobs in France, union officials said.

TOULOUSE, France, March 1, 2007 (AFP) - Workers at France's Airbus factories are set to go on strike on Tuesday to protest against major cutbacks by the European aircraft maker involving the loss of about 4,000 jobs in France, union officials said.

The half-day national protest was called by three unions which on Thursday asked other labour movements representing Airbus employees to join in the action, said Jean-Francois Knepper of the biggest union at Airbus, Force Ouvriere (Workers' Strength).

Airbus on Monday said it will axe jobs across Europe in the next four years under its Power 8 restructuring plan, with 4,300 cuts planned in France, 3,700 in Germany, 1,600 in Britain and 400 in Spain.

Knepper said that work was "almost at a standstill" at Airbus factories in Saint-Nazaire and Meaulte, in northern France, and that there were "sporadic unannounced walk-outs" taking place at the main factory in Toulouse in the south.

"Airbus employees are very angry," said Knepper, adding that they were "mobilised" and ready for strike protests at all four factories in France: Toulouse, Saint-Nazaire, Meaulte and Nantes.

Almost immediately after Airbus management unveiled its strategy on Monday, workers in three factories in Germany downed tools, foreshadowing what is expected to be a bitter struggle between the company and labour organisations.

The job cuts were announced as part of strategy intended to solve the growing crisis with its A380 superjumbo jet.

Deliveries of the giant plane, the world's biggest airliner, are now two years behind schedule, putting a severe strain on Airbus's finances and damaging the company's reputation among clients and investors.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin separately said that the restructuring plan was "necessary" to "finally pull out of this situation of uncertainty and to prepare the future."

Villepin told a news conference that he had received assurances from Airbus CEO Louis Gallois that the 4,300 job losses in France would take place "without any direct lay-offs".

Airbus has said the job cuts would be done through attrition and other measures.

Copyright AFP

Subject French news

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