Germany and France: resistance to job cuts at Airbus

The planned job cuts at Airbus as a result of the Corona crisis will hit Germany and France particularly hard. Ministries and unions in both countries are now experiencing contradictions.

Politicians and unions in Germany and France are calling for the fairest and most cautious approach to the planned reduction of thousands of Airbus jobs: “We naturally assume that this restructuring will also take place in such a way that it does not favor any country and will not disadvantage any country,” said Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier.

Altmaier expressed a fundamental understanding of the need for savings: The aircraft manufacturer Airbus was in a similar situation to Lufthansa, which had been hard hit by the Corona crisis. “We are interested in both companies surviving this crisis unscathed,” said Altmaier.

Djebarri: Save jobs through short-time work

French State Secretary for Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebarri criticized the planned deletions: The group had not taken all state and operational measures into account, he said: Just by continuing short-time work, you could save around 1,500 jobs by working on a more environmentally friendly aircraft that lasted until A further 500 could be secured in 2035 with funding.

Djebarri referred to the state’s stimulus package: The government had not helped Air France with seven billion euros to finance job cuts, but to survive and be able to pay wages. “Airbus is facing a very difficult time. The state is in favor of Airbus, as is Air France,” he said.

The French union Force Ouvriere described layoffs at Airbus as a “red line” that should not be exceeded. In this country, IG Metall campaigned for an extension of short-time work in order to dampen the dismantling. She warned of a “clear cut”.

Radical shrinking cure at Airbus

Airbus announced on Tuesday evening that as a result of the Corona crisis, 15,000 of the 90,000 full-time positions in the commercial aircraft division would be lost worldwide, including 5,100 in Germany. In addition, 900 jobs at the Airbus subsidiary Premium Aerotec are to be cut in Germany, the dismantling of which was already planned before the crisis – making the Federal Republic the most severely affected by the planned shrinking cure. The aircraft manufacturer plans to cut 5,000 jobs in neighboring France.

Are locations in northern Germany particularly affected?

It is still unclear at which locations in Germany should be cut. Lower Saxony’s Minister of Economic Affairs Bernd Althusmann assumes that it will hit all locations in northern Germany, but did not name any names.

The group management has signaled that, as far as possible, no operational layoffs, said the dpa CDU politician. Early retirement and short-time working arrangements as well as flexible working time models are to be examined in order to help Airbus through the crisis. “We need clear support from the federal and state governments for the aviation industry,” said Althusmann. The states of Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Bremen would ask the federal government to support the development of new drive technologies and composites for green aviation.

According to Althusmann, there is also great hope that the federal government will place the future of the German-French Airbus project at the center of the German EU Council Presidency. The French government launched a multi-billion dollar aid package for the entire aviation industry a few weeks ago. One condition was that a CO2-neutral aircraft should be developed by 2035. Over the next three years, 1.5 billion euros are to be invested in research and development in environmentally friendly technologies.


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