BERLIN – European aerospace giant EADS is considering cutting its workforce by 20 percent, or 8,000 employees, at its new Defence and Space division, a report by German news agency DPA said Wednesday.
The plans will be part of EADS’s integration of defence and security division Cassidian with Airbus Military and with aerospace subsidiary Astrium to form the division named Airbus Defence and Space.
Details of the project are to be announced shortly.
“No figure has been decided, no figure exists. We see no reason for any comment,” an EADS spokesman told AFP in response to the DPA report, which quoted “an informed source”.
He said all plans would first be presented to the works councils and then be communicated to the public.
Germany’s IG Metall union was not available for comment.
On Tuesday EADS management and trade union representatives met in Toulouse, southwest France but no layoff figures were given.
However EADS chief executive Tom Enders reaffirmed the planned streamlining of company structures that will also see a name change from EADS to Airbus Group in mid-2014.
Enders deeply worried trade unions at the end of last month when he told the Munich-based newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview that drastic measures were needed to radically reshape the company. “We cannot avoid new cuts of costs and staff,” he said.
The restructuring is seen as unavoidable after the failed merger with Britain’s defence firm BAE Systems last year.
Talks between the two companies had aimed at combining BAE’s drive for profits and globe-reaching customer base with the commercial might of EADS’s successful Airbus to create an industry leader.
But after objections from government stakeholders, notably Germany, the tie-up was abandoned in October 2012.
Since then, the fortunes of both firms have been largely positive even though an announcement of cutbacks earlier this month at BAE could give the impression things were looking sour.
The Britain-based giant announced it will axe 1,775 jobs and close the historic Portsmouth shipbuilding yard in Britain.