Blagnac (France) (AFP)

Toulouse will pay a heavy price for the crisis in the post-Covid aviation sector in the aeronautical sector: almost three-quarters of the 5,000 jobs that Airbus intends to cut in France will be in the European aeronautical capital.

According to the statement communicated Thursday to the unions in a group committee, in addition to Toulouse, the social plan at Airbus and its subsidiary Stelia Aerospace also affects Saint-Nazaire (nearly 600 jobs) and Nantes (almost 500).

The boss of the 1st union at Airbus, Jean-François Knepper (FO), denounced a "excessive and disproportionate plan". "The crisis is cyclical, but the plan is structural," he said.

Toulouse, where Airbus and its subsidiaries employ some 25,000 people, "is the capital of aeronautics, when the storm arrives, it is more wet than the others" but "this is not a reason to justify everything and n ' whatever, "he added.

In Toulouse and its periphery, in particular in Blagnac, the "Airbus City", 2,398 redundancies in production, 980 at headquarters, 186 at ATR and 36 at Stelia are planned, according to the unions.

- Negotiations Monday -

In its establishments in Rochefort, Mérignac, Méaulte and Saint-Nazaire, the Stelia subsidiary must lose a total of some 700 jobs, said Mr. Knepper, after a group committee with management.

"We are heading for a social cataclysm in the fall," he warned Knepper. "How can the state accept so many layoffs?".

"We are worried. We don't know who is going to jump. Some of us have a credit on our backs, if we lose our salary, it will be complicated," says Ludovic Beller, a 29-year-old mechanic who has worked for seven years for Airbus, at the entrance to one of the group's factories.

"We don't know where we're going. The shock is brutal. Before the Covid crisis, we were in the middle of a boom, we were planning to install the assembly line for the A321 on the A380 site, we had prospects hiring, "said David Neff, a 26-year-old technician.

Florent Veletchy, central union delegate of the CFTC, 3rd union of the group, specifies that 2,823 "white-collar workers" and 1,425 "blue-collar workers", according to Airbus terminology, are threatened.

- Demonstration Wednesday -

The unions will "now sit at the negotiating table (...) We start Monday morning and we are gone for four months," said Knepper.

But judging that the "leaders feel a little uninhibited", he underlined the determination of the unions to "bring them to reason".

"If they want to pass in force, we will raise the tone," he added, recalling that the union red line was "zero redundancies".

And Wednesday, Airbus employees are called by the three unions to a demonstration at the headquarters of the aircraft manufacturer.

The union trio hope that early, voluntary departures, a long-term partial activity and training facilities will help reduce the scope of the plan.

The unions also intend to defend the subcontractors, because the whole sector employs some 60,000 people in the region.

"Airbus will not restart if the subcontractors disappear," said Knepper. CFE-CGC delegate Françoise Vallin noted the "risk for the survival of small businesses weakened before the crisis".

The state has announced a 15 billion euro aeronautical sector recovery plan, which includes aid planned for Air France. The socialist president of the Occitania region, Carole Delga, must for her part unveil on Friday a regional recovery plan of nearly 100 million euros for the sector.

Coming to Toulouse to show his support for the sector, the national secretary of the Communist Party Fabien Roussel called on the state "not to let what happens to Airbus", which is "extremely serious".

© 2020 AFP