11,000 German Airbus workers on strike: union

11,000 German Airbus workers on strike: union

Berlin: Some 11,000 employees of aircraft manufacturer Airbus downed tools Friday, the IG Metall union said, after bosses and workers failed to agree a new wage accord.

Negotiations broke down last month after a year and a half of efforts to reach a deal on a range of issues from an employment guarantee to a ceiling on the number of temporary workers that can be hired.

“Only together can we secure the future of Airbus," said Meinhard Geiken, a representative of IG Metall, as he called on management to return to the negotiating table.

A major sticking point in negotiations is over commitments to increase employee productivity.

Florian Seidel, an Airbus spokesman, told the news agency that the number of people on strike was closer to 4,000 and called on unions to come back to the talks.

“What we are offering is a deal that is second to none," he said. “We are ready to give employment guarantees for the next nine years and what we are asking for in return is a rise in productivity rates."

He added that “both sides are not that far apart" and he expected a return to negotiations “in the next few days. That’s the reason we didn’t see the necessity of the strike," said Seidel.

The workers have offered productivity gains of 2% worth about €1 billion ($1.3 billion) between now and 2020 in exchange for guarantees of employment and maintaining four work sites in northern Germany. Management wants a higher rate of 8%, according to the unions.