French Premier says 10,000 job cuts planned at Airbus

Paris: French prime minister Dominique de Villepin today said his government would oppose any job cuts in Airbus' major restructuring strategy, which was earlier scheduled to be unveiled today, but which has been postponed owing too disagreements among member nations of the four-country consortium that owns it. He said the aerospace firm had planned 10,000 job cuts.

Asked if he could confirm reports that 10,000 of the company's 55,000 jobs would be trimmed, Villepin said that is what was envisioned in the plan. "But we say -- no layoffs. An answer must be found for each person," he emphasised.

The European aircraft maker called off a works council meeting and news conference at which the strategy would have been unveiled today, after French and German shareholders of parent company EADS failed to agree on where to build the A350 XWB - a planned rival to Boeing Co.'s mid-sized 787.

Villepin said French President Jacques Chirac would discuss the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a meeting on Friday.