EADS Mulls 20 Job Cuts in Defense  Space Unit

EADS Mulls 20% Job Cuts in Defense & Space Unit

The plans will be part of EADS's integration of defense and security division Cassidian with Airbus Military and with aerospace subsidiary Astrium to form the division named Airbus Defense and Space.

BERLIN -- European aerospace giant EADS (IW 1000/52) is considering cutting its workforce by 20%, or 8,000 employees, at its new Defense and Space division, a report by German news agency DPA said today.

The plans will be part of EADS's integration of defense and security division Cassidian with Airbus Military and with aerospace subsidiary Astrium to form the division named Airbus Defense and Space.

Details of the project are to be announced shortly.

"No figure has been decided; no figure exists; we see no reason for any comment," an EADS spokesman said in response to the DPA report, which quoted "an informed source."

The spokesman said all plans would first be presented to the works councils and then be communicated to the public.

Germany's IG Metall union was not available for comment.

On Tuesday EADS management and trade union representatives met in Toulouse, France, but no layoff figures were given.

However, CEO Tom Enders reaffirmed the planned streamlining of company structures that will also include a name change from EADS to Airbus Group in mid-2014.

Writing on the Wall

Enders startled trade unions at the end of last month when he told the Munich-based newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview that drastic measures were needed to radically reshape the company. "We cannot avoid new cuts of costs and staff," he said.

The restructuring is seen as unavoidable after the failed merger with Britain's defense firm BAE Systems (IW 1000/167) last year.

Talks between the two companies had aimed at combining BAE's drive for profits and globe-reaching customer base with the commercial might of EADS's successful Airbus to create an industry leader.

But after objections from government stakeholders, notably Germany, the tie-up was abandoned in October 2012.

Since then, the fortunes of both firms have been largely positive even though an announcement of cutbacks earlier this month at BAE could give the impression things were looking sour.

The Britain-based giant announced it will axe 1,775 jobs and close the historic Portsmouth shipbuilding yard in Britain.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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