Airbus needs to save over 1 billion Euro a year.
The plan was, I was told to lay off all contract staff, which would mean thousands of job losses across the EU, in particular in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Of course if this was a business in the normal fashion the executives would have hummed and haahed about the severity of the measure, then looked at the hatchet face of the CFO, gritted their teeth and accepted this as the only way to save the company. But of course Airbus is not a normal industry. It is industrio-political. It is the EU's champion in the great joust with the US and Boeing.
So the suggestion was taken off the table. Essentially the four Governments had made it clear that they wouldn't complete any orders with Airbus if their own contract workers were sacked.
Economics Minister Glos said before the talks that he wanted to ensure that Germany was not hit disproportionately by any job cuts, and repeated his warning that German defence orders for Airbus parent company EADS could be cancelled.
Now what? Well as far as I can gather the Board is in a tight spot. It knows that they have to do this, but politically they cannot. The upshot is probably that they will just slowly sink into the sand.
The other possibility is that we will witness a round of governmental chicken, with the first to blink to see redundancies. Any betting that Bristol is doomed?