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German union calls on EADS management to clarify job cut plans
November 22, 2013 / 12:05 PM / 4 years ago

German union calls on EADS management to clarify job cut plans

HAMBURG, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Germany’s IG Metall labour union called on management at EADS to show its hand following reports that the European aerospace group is planning thousands of job cuts.

EADS said in July it would combine its defence and space subsidiaries, effective Jan. 1, and might sell off units that are small and easily segregated from the rest.

Two industry sources told Reuters that the restructuring of EADS’s defence business would cost thousands of jobs but fewer than the 8,000 reported by German news agency DPA on Wednesday.

The DPA report said EADS was planning to cut up to 20 percent of the roughly 40,000-strong workforce at its newly-created Airbus Defence & Space division.

“We have no numbers from the company, neither as a percentage nor as an absolute figure,” Ruediger Luetjen, head of the company’s European works council and an IG Metall representative, told journalists at a news conference on Friday.

The German government’s deputy spokesman Georg Streiter said on Friday he was also unaware of any numbers so far.

EADS has so far declined to say how many jobs may have to go. Chief Executive Tom Enders said last month the restructuring would require “hard measures” as job and cost cuts could not be avoided.

EADS, in which France and Germany each hold 12 percent of shares, is due to give further details on the restructuring programme, which will run through to next July, on Dec. 9.

To put pressure on management, IG Metall has called on workers to walk off the job at EADS sites across Germany on Nov. 28.

The shake-up at EADS aims to provide greater cohesion to disparate defence activities and comes a year after Chief Executive Tom Enders had to bow to political opposition to his attempt to merge with UK arms firm BAE Systems.

It is also meant to help the group reach an operating margin target of 10 percent in 2015, excluding its new A350 programme, compared with 5.3 percent in 2012.

A spokesman for EADS in Germany declined to comment on IG Metall’s statements.

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