PARIS (AP) — Airbus wants to cut more than 1,100 jobs across Europe as it consolidates its activities and seeks to better compete with U.S. rival Boeing and others amid growing global demand for planes.
Airbus Group, parent of the plane maker, faces months of negotiations with unions after presenting a reorganization plan to the works council Tuesday in Toulouse, France.
The cuts will be spread across four countries, with 640 jobs cut in France, 429 in Germany, 54 in Britain and 39 in Spain, Airbus spokesman Jacques Rocca said.
Airbus, which has about 136,000 employees worldwide, hopes to make the cuts through voluntary departures, early retirement and relocating positions — but might resort to layoffs if necessary.
Yvonnick Dreno of the Workers Force union suggested workers could stage strikes if they can't agree with management on conditions for the cuts.
"We have said we will not accept layoffs," he said on BFM television. "If there is a need to have labor action, there will be action."
Discussions are under way for the next six months, and the job cuts are meant to be finalized by the end of 2018.
Airbus Group says the cuts are needed as it merges the plane maker with the parent company and invests in digital projects.
Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders stressed the need for lifelong learning for employees in a fast-changing job market, and said the integration is aimed at ensuring "future competitiveness."
The announcement came the day after the latest World Trade Organization ruling in a long-running dispute between Airbus and Boeing over government subsidies.
Airbus has had a challenging year, suffering losses linked to its troubled A400M military transporter and the A350 passenger jet, its long-delayed rival to Boeing's popular 787.