A looming strike at Airbus's German plants could influence decisions to allocate further A320 family final assembly capacity to Hamburg, the airframer has threatened.

Representatives of the management and employers' association are meeting with the company's works council and union members today to find a solution for a future workers' agreement, which has been under negotiation for over a year.

Last week, the tariff commission of the IG Metall Kuste union decided to undertake warning strikes, although no dates have yet been set for the walkouts.

Airbus tried to stop this with a temporary injunction but failed after a labour court in Frankfurt decided that it was unable to clarify the issues "with the required certainty" in the preliminary evaluations for a temporary injunction.

The main points of disagreement are demands for the works council to have more influence on the company's use of temporary staff, and to give employees a greater voice for the organisation and optimisation of production processes.

An Airbus spokesman said it was interesting to see that the union had dropped its former main demand regarding the planned productivity improvements until 2020.

IG Metall previously claimed that Airbus wanted to raise productivity by 8% a year while it offered an annual increase of 2%. However, the apparent discrepancy was due to different calculation methods and both approaches led to similar savings of around €1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) until 2020, according to Airbus.

The conflict could lead to a "loss of trust" in the German plants in the medium- to long-term and potentially jeopardise decisions to allocate more work to the sites in Hamburg, Bremen, Stade and Buxtehude in future, said an Airbus spokesman.

The issue revolves mainly around additional A320 family assembly capacity. The manufacturer plans to increase production from 38 to 42 aircraft a month by the end of 2012, with the assembly of the additional four aircraft currently scheduled for Hamburg.

The works council refuses to allow overtime for employees, which has put the current delivery schedule under threat, the spokesman added. While the company wants to pay the overtime, the work council wants it to be added to work hour accounts.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news