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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 18:33 GMT
Mixed German reactions to Airbus cuts
By Tristana Moore
BBC News, Berlin

Workers at the Airbus factory at Nordenham, Germany
German Airbus workers would like to be sheltered from job cuts

For weeks, workers at Airbus factories in Germany have been bracing themselves for the worst.

Rumours of massive lay-offs have been swirling in the media.

Finally, on Wednesday, there was the official confirmation that 3,700 jobs will be cut in Germany.

After all the uncertainty, workers reacted angrily to the news.

Union officials said people stopped work this afternoon at three German plants, Varel, Laupheim and Nordenham.

Union leaders have warned that they will fight to save every single job.

According to Daniel Friedrich, the spokesman of the IG Metall union, workers are "completely fed up," and they are not planning to resume work until Friday when a meeting on the restructuring programme is due to take place.

at first sight the principle of fair distribution appears to have been respected
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Under the restructuring plans, the Airbus factories at Varel, in Lower Saxony, and Laupheim, in Baden Wuerttemberg, are set to be sold or closed and the plant at Nordenham, in Lower Saxony, which specialises in fuselage work, will be operated with a partner.

Deliveries of the new A380 super-jumbo jet will continue to be made at the Airbus plant in Hamburg.

Positive Glos

The German government has recently been lobbying Airbus, and the parent company EADS, to ensure that any job cuts and investment in future aircraft programmes would be balanced "fairly".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who just last week met the French President Jacques Chirac to discuss the crisis at Airbus, said on Wednesday that "at first sight the principle of fair distribution appears to have been respected" in the restructuring plans.

The economics minister also appeared equally relieved.

At a news conference, Michael Glos put on a brave face.

"I emphatically welcome this balanced concept for the cost-cutting and restructuring measures that are needed," he said.

It was a view shared by the German co-chief executive of EADS, Tom Enders, who said that the restructuring plan, known as Power8, represented a "fair distribution" of the burdens and opportunities for both French and German employees.

"It's totally exaggerated to talk of some sort of war between the two countries," Mr Enders said.

But with the unions planning a series of protests, this latest dispute at Airbus is likely to rumble on.

Airbus plants in Europe
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

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
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.
15. Filton: (6,500)
Electrics and wing. Design.
*Open to investors
16. Broughton: (5,000) Wing. Assembly, manufacture.

Airbus CEO explains the need for cuts

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