11,000 German Airbus workers on strike: union

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Some 11,000 employees of aircraft manufacturer Airbus downed tools Friday, the IG Metall union said, after bosses and workers failed to agree a new wage accord.

Negotiations broke down last month after a year and a half of efforts to reach a deal on a range of issues from an employment guarantee to a ceiling on the number of temporary workers that can be hired.

"Only together can we secure the future of Airbus," said Meinhard Geiken, a representative of IG Metall, in a statement, as he called on management to return to the negotiating table.

A major sticking point in negotiations is over commitments to raise employees' productivity rate.

The workers have offered a two percent productivity rate which would amount to about one billion euros ($1.3 billion) between now and 2020 in exchange for guarantees of employment and maintaining four work sites in northern Germany.

Management wants a higher rate of eight percent, according to the unions.

European plane maker Airbus has logged 1,038 net orders for jets in the first three quarters of this year, according to data published Thursday, putting it way in front of US rival Boeing.

Airbus, owned by European group EADS, received 23 orders in September and had no cancellations, despite concerns that airlines might soon face difficulties in raising financing given current market turbulence.

© 2011 AFP

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