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Looming EADS job cuts trigger large-scale protest action

Thousands of employees at the European aviation and defense giant EADS have taken to the streets across Germany to protest looming job cuts. The company had said it would have to overhaul its sluggish defense business.

Well over 20,000 EADS workers gathered for massive protest actions on Thursday to vent their anger over an alleged plan by the executive to cut thousands of jobs.

Media reports had claimed that subsidiary Cassidian in Unterschleissheim near Munich was to be closed down as the company's defense business had kept suffering from the European debt crisis, leading to fewer orders or to major postponements.

DPA news agency had maintained that an announced merger between space subsidiary Astrium and EADS' defense arm and the subsequent creation of a new unit called Airbus Defense & Space would entail a loss of up to 8,000 jobs.

Overall profit not enough?

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Job cuts loom at EADS

European EADS Staff Council chief Rüdiger Lütjen demanded that there be no layoffs due to operating conditions. "Such job cuts could not be communicated to employees against the backdrop of the company's prospering business overall," he commented.

"What EADS needs in view of the current problems in the defense sector is a long-term strategy that opens up new prospects for the workforce," EADS Germany Staff Council chief Thomas Pretzl argued.

EADS CEO Tom Enders has so far refrained from commenting on recent media reports on the looming job cuts. He noted that management would inform staff council representatives on December 9th about the company's future moves. But in earlier statements, Enders had already indicated layoffs would be inevitable as the firm went through a deep restructuring.

hg/tj (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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