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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 17:11 GMT
Airbus confirms 10,000 job cuts
Workers at the Airbus factory at Nordenham, Germany
Unions have expressed anger at the scale of the cuts
Troubled planemaker Airbus has announced it is to cut 10,000 jobs across Europe over the next four years.

France will be worst hit with 4,300 job losses. Germany will see 3,700 jobs go while the UK and Spain will see 1,600 and 400 jobs cut respectively.

Airbus said it would not force any compulsory redundancies but unions have pledged to fight the cuts.

Airbus boss Louis Gallois said the firm was "facing huge challenges" and "was not efficient enough".

Factory options

Mr Gallois said the prolonged weakness of the US dollar had made the restructuring necessary, while the production delays to the flagship A380 superjumbo project had provided the "trigger" for the cutbacks.

Half of the 10,000 cuts will come from temporary staff and sub-contractors not having their contracts renewed.

We totally oppose the closure of any site and we won't accept any firings
Peter Scherrer
European Metalworkers Federation

Mr Gallois said the job cuts would be "fairly shared" between Airbus's four national partners.

Airbus is reviewing the future of three of its plants, at Laupheim, Saint-Nazaire and Varel, with options including their sale to suppliers or management.

It is also seeking investment partners for sites at Filton in the UK, Meaulte in France and Nordenham in Germany.

Airbus said the changes would reduce the time it took to develop new planes from seven-and-a-half years to six years, improve customer service and aircraft reliability.

Union response

Union officials, who were informed of the proposals earlier on Wednesday, expressed anger at the scale of the cuts.

"We totally oppose the closure of any site and we won't accept any firings," said European Metalworkers Federation head Peter Scherrer.

French workers earlier downed tools in protest at the firm's plans to review the future of two of its sites.

Airbus factory in Saint-Nazaire, France
Airbus says the proposed changes will speed up production

EADS, Airbus' Franco-German parent, approved the controversial plan on Monday.

Disagreement between Germany and France, both home to key Airbus factories, has delayed progress on the restructuring.

France - home to the firm's Toulouse headquarters - will be worst affected by the cuts, both at individual factories and in central management and administrative functions.

But, at the same time, some work will be transferred from Hamburg to Toulouse.

Political reaction

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she regretted the job losses but said the proposals ensured "a balanced distribution of risks and opportunities" across different sites.

In France, presidential candidate Segolene Royal said she would seek to freeze the job cuts if elected, but rival Nicolas Sarkozy said politicians should stay out of the company's affairs.

In Britain, more than 10% of jobs at the firm's factories in Filton, Bristol, and Broughton, North Wales are set to go.

But it is understood the Filton plant has won extra work on part of the wing for the new Airbus A350, which uses hi-tech composite materials.

The new contracts would help Airbus in the UK maintain its position as a specialist in the design and manufacture of aircraft wings.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said this would add "valuable new capability" to the country's aerospace industry.

Politicians from Germany, France, the UK and Spain have been lobbying Airbus bosses furiously in recent weeks in an effort to protect jobs in their countries.

Airbus said its current financial situation was "unsustainable".

Production problems with the giant A380 have pushed back deliveries of the plane by two years and cost Airbus about 5bn euros (3.4bn; $6.6bn).

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. Design.
*Open to investors
16. Broughton: (5,000) Wing. Assembly, manufacture.


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