Thousands of German workers protest against EADS shake-up

Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:23am EST
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By Jens Hack

MANCHING, Germany (Reuters) - More than 20,000 workers from European aerospace group EADS EAD.PA took to the streets in Germany on Thursday to protest against restructuring plans they fear could cost thousands of jobs.

Protests were held at about 30 sites, from the company's Airbus factories near Hamburg in the north to its Eurofighter jet assembly plant in Bavaria's Manching in the south.

"This has been a clear warning that the employees of EADS will not accept decisions made to their disadvantage and over their heads," said Ruediger Luetjen, head of the company's European works council and an IG Metall union representative.

EADS, part-owned by the French and German governments, is planning to combine its defense and space subsidiaries next year and has said it might sell some operations.

The company is due to announce details of the shake-up on December 9, but labor representatives have called on EADS to show its hand sooner to ease workers' concerns after reports that several thousand jobs will be axed.

EADS has about 140,000 employees around the world, of which about 50,000 are in Germany.

"What is happening here is just not right," said Peter Stoerecker, one of about 1,000 workers who joined a rally in Manching.

Workers waved red flags emblazoned with the logo of Germany's IG Metall union and blew on red plastic whistles as they marched through snowy weather, accompanied by a brass band.   Continued...

Visitors talk near the welcome desk of the EADS booth at the ILA Berlin Air Show in Selchow near Schoenefeld south of Berlin on September 13, 2012. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz