Paris (AFP)

CFDT secretary general Laurent Berger on Wednesday urged Airbus to negotiate a long-term partial activity agreement (APLD) and not to "rush to cut jobs".

In a letter to employees unveiled Monday by La Tribune and that AFP has obtained, the executive director of the aircraft manufacturer Guillaume Faury deemed "unlikely that voluntary departures will be enough" to achieve 15,000 job cuts, including 5,000 in France, in order to adapt Airbus to the crisis in the aeronautics sector.

With these words, "Airbus is rushing things," reacted Laurent Berger, interviewed Wednesday by RTL.

"There is no need for layoffs at the moment at Airbus," said the union leader.

"Airbus has 7,600 planes on order and about ten years of load plan, we are not going to rush to cut jobs and skills in this company", he insisted, calling on Airbus to " first of all to register in the devices created for this period of crisis ", such as the APLD.

"Airbus must really negotiate an APLD agreement before announcing dry layoffs," said Berger, judging that "companies cannot go to the aid desk (...) and at the same time not to exercise a responsibility in the preservation of employment ".

The aircraft manufacturer has reduced its production rates for commercial aircraft by nearly 40% to cope with the situation resulting from the air transport crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Airbus is counting on early retirements, voluntary departures but also on the conclusion with the unions of wage moderation agreements to limit layoffs.

Of the 5,000 jobs to be cut in France, Guillaume Faury said he hoped to preserve “up to 1,000 jobs” thanks to the APLD system and 500 others thanks to aid to “develop R&D projects”.

Since the announcement of the restructuring plan at the end of June, management has always indicated that it does not exclude forced departures while saying "do everything to prevent them".

The union red line in France as in Germany, the main countries where the aircraft manufacturer operates, is "zero dry layoffs".

A final round of discussions between management and unions is to be held on September 22 and 23.

© 2020 AFP