Airbus job cuts to hit Germany hardest

Airbus job cuts to hit Germany hardest
An Airbus plane departing Leipzig's airport on Wednesday for Rhodes, Greece for the first time since the start of the corona crisis. Photo: DPA
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier on Wednesday urged plane builder Airbus to spread the pain fairly as it cuts 15,000 jobs to deal with lower orders following the coronavirus pandemic.

Just like airline giant Lufthansa, which Berlin has stepped in to save with €9 billion of taxpayer cash, “we have an interest that (Airbus) survives the crisis undamaged,” Altmaier said.

Nevertheless, “we assume that the restructuring will proceed in a way that does not favour any country nor disadvantage any country,” he added.

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The company had said Tuesday its cuts would fall most heavily on Europe's top economy, with 5,100 positions to go compared with 5,000 in France, 1,700 in Britain and 900 in Spain.

Some 45,600 of Airbus' roughly 135,000 employees worldwide work in Germany, compared with 49,000 in France — meaning the German share of the planned layoffs is higher than the French.

Altmaier also recalled that Berlin was investing around €1 billion in developing quieter low-emissions aircraft, with Airbus among companies eligible for the funds.

Paris reacted more forcefully Tuesday, with the economy ministry blasting the planned Airbus cuts as “excessive” and urging limits on forced departures.

Company bosses have said they will discuss with unions how to achieve the job reductions, with measures including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long-term partial unemployment schemes all on the table.

On Wednesday, Germany partially restarted its travel and tourism industry again. The worldwide travel warning is being lifted for all EU member states as of Wednesday, although a travel warning remains in place for 130 countries until at least August 31st.


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