Workers of Airbus plants in Germany protest restructuring, demand job security

Under the leadership of the IG Metall union, workers of Airbus and its subsidiary, Premium Aerotec, protested the company’s plans for restructuring, which will likely affect 13,000 jobs in its German plants

September 20, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Protest demonstration at Augsburg. Photo: IG Metall

Workers of a number of plants of the aerospace products manufacturer Airbus and its subsidiary, Premium Aerotec, organized warning strikes across Germany on September 17 and 18. They were protesting the job losses involved in the company’s attempt to restructure production. Under the call of the IG Metall union, strikes and mobilizations took place in the cities of Augsburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Stade, and Varel. The union has also warned of future strike actions if the management doesn’t agree to further negotiations with the employees.

In April, Airbus announced plans to restructure its subsidiaries in Germany, involving splitting the Augsburg-based supplier Premium Aerotec. Airbus management wants to further integrate units involved in the assembling while selling off units engaged in the production of individual parts. 

According to reports, the Airbus structure and equipment assembly in Hamburg, Stade, and Premium Aerotec plants in Augsburg, Bremen and Nordenham will be integrated into their new subsidiary, while the Premium Aerotec plants at Varel and Augsburg will be separated as single-part manufacturing sites and will likely to be handed over to a new investor. The IG Metall union said that the restructuring will likely impact 13,000 employees of Airbus across Germany, including 2,200 at the Premium Aerotec in Augsburg. The union called for a package for all the workers involved in the current production units of Airbus and Premium Aerotec, fixing the workload for all existing and future aircraft production programs.

Before the protests, IG Metall, Augsburg had said that they shared their expectation in the first round of talks with the management. “Unfortunately, the employer is missing their chance to shape the future together by negotiating with us.” added the union.

Earlier in August, Ulrike Bahr from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) said that “the future of Premium Aerotec within the Airbus Group remains unclear. The management has acted arrogantly in recent weeks and hasn’t even seriously explored solutions.”

She has also called for a more active role from the federal government in resolving the crisis and demanded clear announcements from Airbus management about the fair handling of employees’ interests, as well as the industrial interests of Germany. 

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