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Airbus fuselage assembly plant
Production problems may mean that Airbus tries to save money by cutting jobsImage: AP

Jobs in Jeopardy

DW staff (jc)
January 30, 2007

Workers geared up for demonstrations after a union leader said he feared that EADS, the multi-national parent company of the troubled Airbus concern, may cut up to 8,000 jobs in northern Germany.


The head of the works council for Airbus Hamburg, Horst Niehus, announced on Monday evening that between 5,000 and 8,000 jobs were at risk as the company pursues its radical restructuring program, nicknamed "Power 8."

The German metalworkers union IG Metall has called for protests in Hamburg and at three other Airbus plants on Friday. Union leaders say they hope that some 10,000 workers will turn out to show their solidarity.

"We see the necessity of restructuring," Niehus said. "But we are afraid that a large amount of work could be moved out of Germany."

Airbus employs some 30,000 people in Germany on a full-time or part-time basis, and the loss of thousands of positions would have a significant economic impact on the north of the country.

Power 8 for profits

"No decisions have been made yet," a spokesman at the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse.

Airbus Chief Executive Louis Gallois speaks during a ceremony
New Airbus boss Louis Gallois will help decide the fates of thousands of workersImage: AP

EADS management is expected to announce the specific details of its cost-cutting plans in Toulouse, France on Feb. 20. The company would like to see Airbus save 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) by 2010 and 2 billion euros annually thereafter.

In mid-January, Airbus deputy Fabrice Bregier said that the Power 8 program would not lead to plant closures.

Quoting unnamed sources, the German business daily Handelsblatt, however, reported that two Airbus plants in Lower Saxony could be put on the block.

Costly production delays to Airbus' flagship A380 super-jumbo passenger jet have been making themselves felt on the balance sheets, and EADS says that because of the Airbus division it probably operated at a loss in 2006.

Recently appointed Airbus Chief Executive Louis Gallois has been charged with cutting costs and better coordinating production between sites in Germany, France, Britain and Spain. That could well involve closing some of Airbus' current facilities.

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