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Airbus details restructuring plan

Major shake-up will slash 10,000 jobs

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Airbus yesterday rolled out its "Power8" restructuring programme which will see the company shed 10,000 jobs over the next four years.

The shake-up comes as the company struggles to deliver its much-heralded A380 - now roughly two years behind schedule - and in the face of "US dollar weakness" and "increased competitive pressure".

Airbus CEO Louis Gallois explained: "We have had an excellent sales and delivery performance in 2006. But our long-term future is at stake if we don't act now. We fully appreciate that this transformation must be undertaken jointly and in close consultation with our social partners."

The lay-offs will be spread across Airbus's European operations. Airbus Germany will lose 3,700 staff, France 3,200, the UK 1,600, Spain 400, and the company's headquarters in Toulouse will say goodbye to 1,000. Airbus currently employs 57,000 direct employees and 30,000 subcontractors.

Five thousand of those for the chop are "temporary or on-site subcontractors, where reductions will begin immediately". The other 5,000 redundancies will be direct Airbus employees. The company said yesterday: "Priority is given to achieve reductions through negotiated voluntary severance processes and schemes in each country concerned. The respective national processes, including negotiations in each country of voluntary severance schemes, will be launched immediately."

Airbus said it wasn't at this stage considering forced redundancies, but noted that "should these schemes not generate the expected level of reductions within the next 12 to 18 months, other measures will have to be considered to fully achieve the cost saving targets".

Gallois said: "We will manage the social impact of these measures properly and in close dialogue with our employee representatives. The burden will be spread in a fair and equitable manner across Airbus. The balance of the Airbus founding nations will be preserved."

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