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Germany-based EADS Employees Protest Proposed Job Cuts 

 Munich (dpa) - Over 20,000 Germany-based employees at European air and space company EADS protested at locations around the country on Thursday against proposed job cuts.

   The IG Metall labour union called for walkouts by its members to protest the cuts, which could come as a result of EADS combining its space and defence subsidiaries, as well as from selling off smaller units.

In the Bavarian city of Manching alone, around 2,000 employees gathered to vent their anger. The company intends to give details about its definitive plans on December 9.

“We have understanding for the worries of our employees,” said an EADS spokesperson.

Employees of Cassidian, an affiliate of the aviation concern EADS, protest in front of the works against the planned cutbacks in Manching, Germany, 28 November 2013. Photo: DANIEL KARMANN

EADS chief executive Tom Enders recently emphasized that the restructuring of the ailing defence business would come with job losses. The merger of the aerospace subsidiary Astrium into the new Airbus Defence & Space division could lead to up to 8,000 cuts.

Thomas Pretzl, the company’s labour representative in Germany, accused Enders of placing financial returns before its employees. EADS currently has a backlogged order book.

“With this excess, we and our families must be worried about our existence during Christmas,” said Pretzl.

EADS needs a long-term strategy that opens employees up to different possibilities in the job market, he added.

Bavaria’s new business minister, Ilse Aigner, tried to reassure employees that they would receive support from the state.

“I’m in contact with Tom Enders, the head of the company, trade unions and the council,” said Aigner.

Other protests took place in the Bavarian cities of Augsburg and Donauwoerth, as well as at Airbus plants in Hamburg, Bremen and Stade.

Like other European defence contractors, EADS is feeling the financial squeeze. Programmes are being closed or rolled back, while orders are being cancelled.

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