Julian Moxon/PARIS

GERMAN UNIONS have reacted angrily as Daimler-Benz Aerospace (DASA) received approval from its parent company to press ahead with plans to cut almost 9,000 jobs under the Dolores (dollar-low rescue) plan.

DASA says that it remains "open to negotiations", but that the target of reaching operating profits by 1998 remains "absolutely firm". Talks with the unions have been under way since the original announcement in early October of the cuts, but have not led to any acceptance of the plans, according to a company source.

The unions continue to express "complete opposition" to the scale of the job cuts and plant closures.

Under the Dolores scheme, approved on 20 November, DASA's workforce will be cut to below 40,000, excluding the Fokker and Eurocopter subsidiaries. The cutbacks follow a collapse in profits caused by the weakness in the US dollar.

DASA chief executive Manfred Bischoff says that the need to restructure the company has become even more urgent with the threat of a merger between Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. "We must extend and revise our programmes in the civil-aircraft and propulsion-system sectors and protect our technological leadership in this field," he says.

Almost half of the job losses will occur in aircraft and engine plants, including the disposal of sites at Lauphelm, Peissenberg and Speyer.

DASA says that it will help to ease the transition of units leaving the group to become stand-alone concerns by making them "preferred suppliers", or even retaining a share in them for an initial period. It adds, however, that such companies "...must themselves remain competitive" in the world market.

Source: Flight International