No job cuts at French state-owned firms: minister

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The French state will not accept job cuts due to the economic slowdown at firms in which it has a stake , Finance Minister Francois Baroin said Tuesday after reports of lay-offs at nuclear energy giant Areva.

France as a shareholder in companies "won't accept any impact on jobs due to the slowdown in the international economy," Baroin told lawmakers.

"Employment will not be an adjustment mechanism where the state has a say ... This applies to Areva and all public companies," he added.

Areva, in which the French state holds an 87 percent stake, will cut at least 2,700 jobs including more than 1,000 in France as it tries to adapt to the changed nuclear energy market following the accident at Japan's Fukushima reactor earlier this year, according to an internal document obtained by AFP.

Baroin called Areva chief Luc Oursel into his office on Tuesday to present the strategic plan the company has drafted, which aims to generate 750 million euros in savings per year by 2015, sources told AFP.

The plan, due to be announced December 13, would slash planned investments over the next five years by 40 percent and sell off stakes in numerous companies.

Baroin said following the meeting that Oursel promised that no jobs would be cut in France. Neither will Areva launch an incentives package for employees to leave voluntarily or reduce activity at French sites, added Baroin.

© 2011 AFP

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