Approx. 10,000 Walk Out In "Power8" Protest
labor unions filled the streets of Toulouse, France with an
estimated 10,000 striking Airbus workers on Tuesday. The
demonstration was promised as labor's response to EADS "Power8"
restructuring plan, which proposes to cut 10,000 jobs and either
sell off or joint-venture six plants.
As ANN reported last week,
two of the six affected sites are in France, three in Germany and
one in Britain.
"We don't want to become Airbus odd-jobs men, we want to acquire
new skills," said Jean-Francois Knepper, an official with French
labor union Force Ouvriere, to The Associated Press.
The demonstration also drew out leaders of anti-free-trade
groups and political parties, and appeared to signal the emergence
of the dispute as an issue in France's presidential election.
Candidates, some of whom recently took the position that Airbus
should be a private company, are now making competing promises of
France's Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, is the conservative
party candidate. He said last week that governments make poor
strategic shareholders. But this week, he's saying that the French
state should be better represented as a shareholder in Airbus.
The opposing Socialist party is supporting a bid by several
French regions to buy a stake, to balance several regional German
governments which have done the same.
The European Metalworkers' Federation, a Brussels-based trade
organization, called for another day of strikes and protests by
Airbus workers across Europe on March 16.