EADS consortium partners address concerns over Airbus' restructuring
Our Corporate Bureau
21 February 2007
German and French leaders are discussing the consequences of an overhaul affecting jobs at Airbus plants in their respective countries and are trying to negotiate their way out of an impasse.
Moreover, while they squabble, Airbus faced growing paralysis on Tuesday over plans to axe thousands of jobs as French and German politicians quarrelled over the cuts and Berlin dampened hopes of a quick solution at a bilateral summit this week.
Yesterday, Airbus postponed unveiling its overhaul on Tuesday, after the consortium of countries failed to agree on a deal. French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin had yesterday said that Airbus wanted to cut some 10,000 jobs. He also said that there should be no forced redundancies, saying, “We say 'No Lay-offs'. An answer must be found for each person.
Villepin, who has been speaking to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has called for "fair" job cuts. He said, "This company is largely Franco-German, very European and there needs to be an equitable distribution of efforts between the countries."
According to media reports, German members on the board of Airbus' parent EADS have prevented the proposed restructuring.
EADS says Airbus needs to reduce its costs by €5 billion ($6.6 billion / Rs 289, 500 crore) by 2010 to increase productivity and counter losses, brought about by delays to the A380 super jumbo.
The main airbus factory is based in Toulouse, where it employs 11,000 people, and the French government owns 15 per cent of EADS, while French media firm Lagardère SCA owns 7.5 per cent. German automaker DaimlerChrysler owns an approximately 22.5 per cent stake.
Airbus employs more than 10,000 staff in Hamburg, its main German plant, and more than 11,000 in the UK.
Germany says the two countries would not take any concrete decisions that were best left to Airbus management. Analysts said the restructuring would also shape the company's long-term future as it chooses an A350 assembly site.
The plane is needed to help the European planemaker catch up with rival Boeing that seized top spot in the global aircraft market last year for the first time in five years.