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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 February 2007, 07:19 GMT
EADS agrees Airbus restructuring
Airbus A380 plane
Employees face a nervous wait to hear details of the changes
Defence firm EADS has approved an eagerly-awaited restructuring plan for its Airbus subsidiary, likely to result in thousands of job losses.

Its board of directors "unanimously" agreed to the revamp, and is expected to outline the planned changes on Wednesday after talks with unions.

Delays to its flagship A380 superjumbo have fuelled talk of major cost cuts.

But disagreement between Germany and France, both home to Airbus factories, has made it hard to reach a deal.

Wrangling

Last Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Jacques Chirac agreed to distribute the impact of job cuts and restructuring at Airbus evenly.

But it is still unclear how many jobs will be lost and which, if any, factories will be closed.

With this decision, it is the end of the tunnel but also the beginning of the problems
Jean-Francois Knepper, Force Ouvriere

Airbus also has significant operations in the UK, where it employs more than 11,000 staff in Bristol and North Wales, and in Spain.

Airbus executives will discuss the proposed changes with union officials on Wednesday, after which an announcement on its future plans is expected.

It has already had to delay the announcement once after wrangling between its various partners over how work on the new A350 plane will be shared out.

In a statement, EADS said the restructuring plan would enable it to "better face the financial burden related to the A380 delays as well as its future investment needs".

Newspaper reports have suggested that the firm could shed up to 15,000 jobs, a move which is likely to be fiercely resisted by unions.

"With this decision, it is the end of the tunnel but also the beginning of the problems," Jean-Francois Knepper, from French union Force Ouvriere, said.




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