Daimler Aerospace to shed 8,800 jobs

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The Independent Online
Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG (Dasa) said yesterday that it plans to cut 8,822 jobs in Germany by the end of 1998. Most of the jobs - 8,046 - will go under a restructuring plan, with the remaining cuts resulting from trainee positions not being filled.

The company's chairman, Manfred Bischoff, told a news conference he did not rule out a loss of more than DM2bn (pounds 900m) in 1995. Such a loss could occur if the dollar fell below DM1.35, although he did not consider that eventuality highly likely.

"The year's result will be strongly dependent on where the dollar is at the end of the year," Mr Bischoff said. If the dollar remained above DM1.3800 for the rest of the year, Dasa would release some of the loss provisions it made in the first half of the year.

He added that he expected the restructuring programme to result in a charge of about DM500m. He declined to give a more exact figure.

The programme is designed to enable Dasa to become profitable at a dollar exchange rate of DM1.35 by the end of 1998, he said. Dasa's break-even level for the dollar is now at DM1.65, he said.

Dasa's workers' council said a strike "cannot be ruled out". Heinz Hawreliuk, an IG Metall official representing Dasa's workers' council on its supervisory board, said at a news conference that the union would "use all possible measures allowed it by law" to convince management to change its plan to cut up to 12,000 jobs.

Mr Hawreliuk said the union figure included almost 2,000 jobs already cut under an ongoing restructuring programme, as well as a further 1,000 jobs which may be lost if Dasa sells its Motoren-und Turbinen-Union subsidiary to BMW. These talks are "in a serious phase", Mr Bischoff said.

Under the restructuring, Dasa would also sell its plants at Laupheim, Peissenberg and Speyer, the company said, but the plan does not apply to Fokker NV. "The measures necessary at Fokker will be taken by bodies responsible for it," the spokesman said, noting that Dasa and Fokker were in discussions with the Dutch government about its restructuring.