German Airbus staff stage walkouts

by Alfie FEATHERSTONE on October 11, 2011

Thousands of Airbus workers yesterday staged walkouts across Germany in an action that was organised by IG Metall union.

This dispute follows the planemaker’s calls for productivity gains in exchange for job guarantees. After 18 long months of talks, neither side has been able to agree terms. Specifically, the strikes involve four assembly plants located in Hamburg, Buxtehude, Bremen, and Stade.

Work on Airbus’ A320 jet and other aircraft has been affected and IG Metall says that 11,000 workers played some part in protests already staged. Airbus disputes such a number, saying that official police figures suggest that just 4,000 staff had an involvement. It also said that the stoppages lasted 90 minutes.

At a press conference, IG Metall said that it is willing to offer at least 2% annual productivity gains between now and 2020. As well as this, it says that would make sure that the firm can cut 1bn euros in costs per year. Airbus says that it calculates its numbers differently from the union and that exact figures should only be talked about at the negotiating table.

During the mentioned press conference, Florian Siedel, a spokesman of Airbus, asked which other industry is able to give job security for nine years or more. Until the dispute has been resolved, the firm says that it cannot guarantee that any jobs won’t be transferred elsewhere.

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