Airbus said on Tuesday it would close factories and assembly
lines for four days in France and Spain, two of its core home
countries alongside Britain and Germany.
The move is designed to adapt working arrangements to keep in
line with recently strengthened rules on keeping a safe distance
between people to slow the spread of coronavirus.
But unions officials said it would be unsafe to keep working in
factories where operating in small teams in compact spaces
inside aircraft fuselages is the norm.
The CGT union in Toulouse described the plan to resume
operations on March 23 as an "irresponsible attitude".
"Airbus management must assume its responsibilities to guarantee
the protection of not only employees, but the population around
the company's industrial sites," it said.
Airbus said it continues to study its working environments in
response to the latest French government measures announced on
Monday and had no further updates to earlier statements.
Airbus assembles some narrow-body and all wide-body passenger
jets in Toulouse, France, and the bulk of the remaining
narrow-body aircraft including the hot-selling A321neo in
Hamburg, Germany. Other French plants provide vital parts.
Industry sources say the Hamburg assembly operations can keep
running for a matter of days without parts like cockpits and
center wingboxes coming from France or other components from
Spain, but a prolonged shutdown in France and Spain would
cripple assembly activities worldwide.
Airbus assembles a smaller number of narrow-body jets in China
and the United States. For now the Airbus plant in Mobile,
Alabama, continues to assemble aircraft at its normal rate of
six a month with plans to reach seven at the start of 2021.
Its Tianjin plants near Beijing recently resumed operation after
a broad industrial shutdown in China linked to the initial
stages of the coronavirus Covid-19 epidemic that is now
affecting airline demand and industrial logistics globally.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
[© 2020 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2020 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.