Airbus says won't lay off staff in Germany, France or UK

Nobody is to be sacked in France, Germany and Britain
Nobody is to be sacked in France, Germany and Britain

Airbus said Thursday that it would be able to avoid forced redundancies in Germany, France and Britain as the European aircraft maker reels from the fallout of Covid-19 on air travel.

The staff situation in Spain, another production site for the aircraft maker, is still uncertain because talks with unions had begun later than elsewhere, it said.

"At this moment, and thanks to the effectiveness of all social measures deployed so far, Airbus does not see the need to implement forced redundancies in France, Germany and the UK," it said, adding however that this depended on the "successful deployment of ongoing internal mobility measures."

At the end of June, the company had said it was planning to cut around 15,000 jobs worldwide, or 11 percent of its total workforce.

The company said the cuts were in response to the pandemic, which had triggered the "gravest crisis" the industry had ever seen.

It added at the time that government aid could help reduce the number of layoffs.

Earlier Thursday, the German metalworkers' union IG Metall said it had reached agreement with Airbus management to avoid thousands of forced redundancies in Europe's biggest economy.

Airbus had previously announced plans to slash around 5,100 posts of its 55,000 in Germany, but the deal means no one will be forced to leave the company until the end of 2023.

Rather, the cuts will be achieved through voluntary redundancies and hours reductions, the union said.

"The threatened layoffs are no longer on the table," said IG Metall regional director Daniel Friedrich in a statement.

He added that a "months-long marathon of negotiations" had ended with a decision in favour of "intelligent solutions rather than layoffs."

It includes the extension of the shorter hours furlough scheme until the end of 2021.

"The decision of Airbus management to rule out forced redundancies is a huge relief for all of us," said Holger Junge, head of the Airbus workers' council.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Junge noted that jobs had been saved despite the "immense" economic blow that Airbus had suffered in the last year.

Airbus, and the aviation sector as a whole, has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis and the resulting collapse in air travel, posting a net loss of 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) for 2020.

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