Airbus staff protest in Spain over job cuts
Thousands of Airbus employees staged protests outside production sites across Spain on Thursday over the European plane-maker's plans to axe 1,600 jobs.
Although hundreds of layoffs were first announced in February, the number of posts to be reduced was more than doubled in late June as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
In Getafe, a southern suburb of Madrid, masked demonstrators marched between the aerospace giant's facilities and the local town hall, waving banners reading "No-one leaves this place" and "No dismissals".
Sub-contractors also took part in the demonstration.
Other demonstrations took place in the southern port city of Cadiz and in Albacete, a town some 250 kilometres (150 miles) southeast of Madrid.
At the end of June, Airbus said it was planning to cut around 15,000 jobs worldwide -- 11 percent of its total workforce -- in response to the pandemic, which had triggered the "gravest crisis" the industry had ever seen.
Of that number, 889 jobs would be cut in Spain, adding to 722 posts it pledged to cut in February over two years.
"I understand that it is a difficult situation but I didn't expect to go through this with a company like Airbus," said 36-year-old engineer Javier Paya, 36, who has worked for aerospace giant for 11 years.
"We cannot understand how jobs and a high-level production system can be destroyed because of an economic problem" linked to the pandemic, said Agustin Marin of the Workers Commissions union, which is demanding state aid for the aerospace sector.
Airbus employs around 12,300 people across Spain but union bosses say the aerospace industry accounts for more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.
It involves more than 400 companies who are based in central Spain, in Andalusia in the south and in the northern Basque Country region.
Speaking to AFP, an Airbus spokeswoman said negotiations with the unions began on July 2 "to identify solutions that will help us implement this adaptation while minimising the social impact of the COVID-19 crisis".