EADS under fire over job cuts in defense shake-up

Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:54am EST
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By Tim Hepher and Gernot Heller

PARIS/BERLIN (Reuters) - Airbus parent EADS EAD.PA came under fire on Tuesday from shareholders France and Germany over plans to cut 5,800 jobs, but its chief executive said that ignoring weak defense and space markets would have put even more jobs at risk.

EADS said a three-year reorganization of its defense and space activities would affect 4,500 jobs on its main payroll, of which 1,500 would be redeployed to commercial planemaker Airbus and helicopter unit Eurocopter.

It issued figures showing that the largest burden of job reductions would fall in Germany, where 2,000 jobs would be cut compared with 1,260 in France, 557 in Spain and 450 in the UK.

The plan calls for between 1,000 and 1,450 forced layoffs and EADS will not renew 1,300 temporary employment contracts.

"We appeal to the aerospace company to be as careful and socially circumspect as possible in cutting these jobs and assume that the cuts will not be to the disproportionate disadvantage of German sites," Berlin's economy ministry said.

In France, the Socialist government said it would not accept forced redundancies.

"This company makes money ... and if it wants to restructure and adapt, fine. But it also has a duty ... to adopt measures to avoid any redundancies," Labor Minister Michel Sapin said.

"For France, it will never be accepted, because it would not be acceptable, that a company like Airbus or EADS should cut overall employment while it still has the capacity to re-absorb anyone losing their job," he told Europe 1 radio.   Continued...

The headquarter of EADS defence unit Cassidian is pictured in the German city of Unterschleissheim, north of Munich December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Dalder