Brazil's Embraer lays off staff in restructuring

SAO PAULO Thu Aug 7, 2008 3:42pm EDT

SAO PAULO Aug 7 (Reuters) - Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer (EMBR3.SA) has eliminated close to 500 management and administrative jobs in a recent restructuring to cut costs, the local metalworkers union said on Thursday.

Embraer (ERJ.N), the world's leading producer of regional jets, confirmed the restructuring. But it declined to specify how many jobs had been cut, citing company policy.

"Embraer confirms some adjustments in its organizational structure, affecting some management and administrative positions, a process that is common in large industrial organizations," the company said in a statement.

The Sao Jose dos Campos Metalworkers Union said the layoffs took place on Aug. 4 and 5, and that they mainly targeted administrative staff, engineers and technicians. The union questioned the need for the job cuts at a time when Embraer is producing record amounts of planes and strong profits.

"If there's no crisis, for the Metalworkers Union the only explanation for the layoffs is that Embraer is cutting jobs to further increase its profits," the union's president, Adilson dos Santos, said in a statement.

Embraer, which said last week that its profit more than doubled in the second quarter, would not say what prompted the restructuring. But local newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo reported on Thursday that the company was trying to find ways to compensate for a weak U.S. dollar, which has hurt its revenue in Brazilian reais.

The real BRBY has gained almost 13 percent so far this year against the dollar, adding to a 20 percent surge in 2007. Embraer, whose planes are priced in dollars, gets the vast majority of its revenue from exports. (Reporting by Todd Benson; Editing by Brian Moss)

FILED UNDER: