IG Metall threatens further industrial action at EADS

Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:00am GMT

Quotes

   

* IG Metall board member says job cuts unacceptable

* Sources have said thousands of jobs to go

* Paper says EADS sees potential savings of 690 mln euros

By Maria Sheahan and Jens Hack

FRANKFURT/MUNICH, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Germany's powerful IG Metall labour union warned that it may call on workers at EADS to take further industrial action to protest the European aerospace company's planned restructuring.

"If the demands of management are too extreme and seem disproportionate to us, then further action is certainly to be expected," IG Metall board member Juergen Kerner told Reuters in an interview.

EADS said in July it would combine its defence and space subsidiaries, effective Jan. 1, and might sell off units that are small and easily segregated from the rest, sparking concern about job cuts at the company.

German daily Handelsblatt on Wednesday reported EADS saw savings potential of 690 million euros ($936 million) from the move. EADS, which is due to give further details on the restructuring programme on Dec. 9, declined to comment.

To put pressure on management before it announces details of the restructuring, which is due to run through July, IG Metall has already called on workers to walk off the job at EADS sites across Germany on Nov. 28.

Two industry sources told Reuters last week that the restructuring would cost thousands of jobs but fewer than the 8,000 previously reported by German news agency DPA.

The DPA report last week said EADS was planning to cut up to 20 percent of the roughly 40,000-strong workforce at its newly-created Airbus Defence & Space division.

Job cuts of that magnitude would not be possible with "soft" measures such as relocations, part-time work or early retirement, Kerner said.

"And harder measures would be absolutely unacceptable to workers at this company, with the current order backlog. That would be met with opposition," he said.

At the end of September, EADS had an order book of 642 billion euros, up 17 percent from a year earlier. Airplane maker Airbus accounts for the bulk of the orders.