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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
UK 'may face Airbus job battle'
Airbus A380
Airbus is a pan-European firm that employs 57,000 people worldwide
The UK may have to renegotiate the size of job cuts proposed by planemaker Airbus after the French presidency changed, a committee of MPs has warned.

Earlier this year, Airbus announced 10,000 jobs losses as part of its 5bn euro (3.4bn) cost-cutting plan.

The UK was due to lose about 1,500 posts over three years, with France and Germany bearing the brunt of the cuts.

However, since then France has a new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, a vocal supporter of France's role in Airbus.

More job cuts

The worry among MPs is that any attempt to revise the cost-cutting plan may lead to the UK having to bear more job cuts.

"The recent change in the French presidency risks leading to a re-opening of negotiations among the parent countries," the UK's Trade and Industry Committee said in a report.

"We encourage the UK government to work towards avoiding this possibility," the committee said.

Airbus had previously said that it would cut about 1,100 jobs at its Filton plant near Bristol, with the remainder of losses coming at its plant in Broughton, north Wales.

About half of the job cuts would come from sub-contracted staff, with the remaining redundancies being made in "overhead" workers, or those people not directly involved in the manufacturing or design of planes, Airbus said.

The Trade and Industry Committee said that should Airbus want to change the number of UK job losses, then the government should "show the same commendable dedication and determination it showed in arriving at the current agreement".

Structure shift

Airbus wants to cut 10,000 of its 57,000 jobs over the next four years, with the loss of 4,300 French jobs and 3,700 German positions. In addition it wants to cut 400 posts in Spain.

A slump in the price of the dollar and rise in the value of the euro have created problems for Airbus, which sells its planes for dollars and pays for its manufacturing costs in euros.

At the same time, the company also needs to make savings because of delays to the delivery schedule of its A380 super-jumbo aircraft.

The revamping of the company's operations is likely to extend to its ownership structure, which sees France, Germany and Spain all holding key stakes.

Airbus's parent company is European aerospace firm EADS.

In May, President Sarkozy said that France planned to sell a 15% stake in Airbus, adding that it would also do its "duty" in relation to the company.

He is due to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next month, and speaking last week said that he was "determined to do all we can so that this extraordinary European success story can continue to grow".

AIRBUS EUROPEAN PLANTS
Airbus plants in Europe
FRANCE
1. Toulouse: (11,500 staff). Cabin and cargo. Electrics, nose, fuselage, wings.
2. Saint Nazaire: (2,300) Nose, centre fuselage.
*Faces sell-off or closure
3. Nantes: (2,000)
Nose, centre fuselage.
4. Meaulte: (1,200)
Nose, centre fuselage.
*Open to investors
GERMANY
5. Hamburg: (10,000)
Cabin and cargo. Electrics. Fuselage assembly.
6. Buxtehude: (350)
Cabin and cargo. Communication systems.
7. Stade: (1,500)
Vertical tail. Design, manufacture, assembly.
8. Bremen: (3,100)
Cabin and cargo. Fuselage design, production.
9. Nordenham: (2,100) Manufacture of fuselage. *Open to investors
10. Varel: (1,100)
Machining fuselage parts.
*Faces sell-off or closure
11. Laupheim: (1,100)
Cabin and cargo. Design and manufacture.
*Faces sell-off or closure
SPAIN
12. Getafe: (2,000) Horizontal tail, A380 rear fuselage. Assembly.
13. Puerto Real: (500) Horizontal tail and A380 rear fuselage. Production.
14. Illescas: (500)
Horizontal tail and A380 rear fuselage. Development.
UK
15. Filton: (6,500)
Electrics and wing. Landing gear design.
*Open to investors
16. Broughton: (5,000) Wing assembly, manufacture.





SEE ALSO
Aeroflot commitment lifts Airbus
20 Jun 07 |  Business
Airbus invites investors to site
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Airbus superjumbo for private use
19 Jun 07 |  Business
Airbus confirms city job losses
01 May 07 |  Bristol/Somerset

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