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Monday, 17 December, 2001, 17:52 GMT
Airbus accepts voluntary redundancies
Plant in Broughton
1,300 jobs are under threat at the Broughton factory
Just under 200 workers at the Airbus airline wing factory in north Wales have been told that their applications for voluntary redundancy have been accepted.

The announcement follows reports last week that up to 1,300 jobs could be lost at the Broughton plant because of the downturn in the aviation industry.

Factory floor at Broughton
Workers are due to vote on new cost-cutting measures
Finishing dates are set to be agreed between management and staff on an individual basis, but a spokeswoman has revealed that some people could be released by the end of the week.

Others will be kept on longer, depending on which project they are currently working on.

Some applications for voluntary redundancy were rejected as workers were deemed indispensable due to their specific skills.

Meanwhile, presentations are still being made to staff at the plant to explain about a series of complex measures which are aimed at limiting job losses.

Staff ballot

Staff are being balloted over the measures, which include ending overtime, and it is now possible the result will be out at the end of the week.

The plant manufactures wings for the giant A380 passenger jets, assembled by a European consortium and planned for first flights in 2006.

Broughton factory
The aircraft is due to fly in 2006
But the economic situation has forced the company, which employs 4,500 highly skilled staff at Broughton, to cut back production.

The consortium, owned jointly by BAE Systems and EADS, is to build 90 fewer jets in 2002 after airlines backed out of planned plane purchases following the air travel crisis.

The 2002 build forecast is now 300 jets.

In November, company bosses wrote to workers asking them to accept voluntary redundancy packages, with 5,000 on offer for applications received by mid-December.

Threat admission

The first admission of the scale of the job threats came on Friday, when managers called workers to a series of "road shows" in the staff canteen.

The consortium had been buoyed by Lufthansa's u-turn last week on the cancellation of an order for 15 superjumbos.

The airline had postponed its order in the wake of the attacks in the US, but changed its mind in a bid to fend off competition.

Airbus orders
1999 - 293
2000 - 311
2001 - 320
2002 - 390
(to 11 Sep)
2002 - 300
(after 11 Sep)
Since the terror attacks in the US on 11 September, there has been unparalleled uncertainty in the aircraft industry with an estimated 20,000 jobs disappearing worldwide.

A number of leading airlines and aircraft manufacturers, including British Airways and Boeing, have announced major redundancies as the industry retracts.

GE's aero-engine facility at Nantgarw has axed hundreds of jobs while more than 100 posts are going at the Trefn aviation components - an Airbus supplier - at Llay near Wrexham.

The Broughton plant has been a major success story in the three decades since the first A300 series wings were produced.

Since production began in November 1971, 2,934 wing sets have been manufactured and delivered for the European Airbus consortium to the final assembly lines in France and Germany.

See also:

06 Dec 01 | Business
Lufthansa places giant Airbus order
10 Nov 01 | Wales
Airbus earmarks massive cuts
09 Nov 01 | Wales
Airbus suppliers cut 124 jobs
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