Airbus furloughs 3,200 U.K. workers as it continues to haemorrhage cash

©Airbus

European aerospace giant Airbus has decided to furlough 3,200 of its staff based at its plant in Broughton, Wales, which is responsible for the manufacture of wings. These employees will be able to take advantage of the U.K.s job retention scheme whereby the government guarantees 80% of an employee’s salary while they are unable to work, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Airbus has agreed with unions to add up to a further 10% of furloughed workers’ normal salary. The move will be staggered over a three-week period and will initially last for three weeks per employee. Additional U.K. staff at the Filton unit, which both designs and supports wings, remain unaffected by the move.

Airbus recently sent out a letter to its 134,000 employees in which it stated that the company “may now need to plan for more far-reaching measures” owing to the enormous loss in business. Airbus is due to announce its first-quarter financial results this Tuesday and major job losses could be announced. Having chosen to cut production by one third at the beginning of April, Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO, has made it clear that this one-third reduction in productivity may not be a worst-case scenario, writing in the letter to staff that: “We’re bleeding cash at an unprecedented speed, which may threaten the very existence of our company. We must now act urgently to reduce our cash-out, restore our financial balance and, ultimately, to regain control of our destiny.”

According to unnamed sources, Airbus is exploring avenues including state-guaranteed loans, having already taken advantage of the French furlough scheme when it suspended work for 3,000 French employees.

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