political backlash

Airbus plan to cut jobs brings calls for setting conditions on aid

You can mothball a plane but workers fight back. Source: Reuters

Airbus provoked an immediate political backlash when it announced this week it will cut some 3,700 jobs as it scales back production of its A380 superjumbo jet airliner and the troubled A400M military transport. In Germany, which will bear the brunt of the cuts, politicians of all stripes called for linking government subsidies for the aircraft maker to maintaining jobs.

The cuts won’t take place until 2020 and Airbus said it hopes to find other jobs in the company for those affected. Order books are full for other aircraft and the company is stepping up production. What counts for the politicians, however, is preserving jobs in existing locations.

“The company has a special responsibility,” Christian Hirte, a Christian Democratic leader in parliament, said, referring to the government support. “That goes for the concerns of workers in individual locations.”

Airbus is currently in talks to extend some government loans, and the politicians want to put conditions on that. “It is in my view legitimate to tie the granting of public funds for Airbus to conditions,” said Bernd Westphal, economic spokesman for the Social Democrats in parliament. Politicians have an obligation to prevent “inequitable hardships” and protect individual locations, he said.

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