Several thousand German Airbus workers have downed tools to protest against the plane maker’s plans to sell or close two of its factories at Varel and Laupheim. It is also seeking a partner for a third plant at Nordenham. There were walkouts at all three and at Nordenham the workers were joined by local residents.
The organisers of the one day strike explained they were protesting against what they said was Airbus negotiating with potential buyers behind the unions’ backs.
The protests came ahead of a meeting at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse next week between the German and French leaders Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy. They are expected to announce changes to the cumbersome Franco-German dual management structure at Airbus’ parent company EADS.
Frenchman Louis Gallois is likely to remain as head of Airbus, but give up the post of joint chief executive of EADS, a role he currently shares with German Thomas Enders. Some of Airbus’ problems have been blamed on the joint management structure.