Airbus' major restructuring strategy includes 10,000 job cuts, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said Tuesday, adding that his government will oppose any cutbacks in the form of layoffs.
Asked if he could confirm reports that 10,000 of the company's 55,000 jobs would be trimmed, Villepin told RTL radio: "That is what is envisioned in the plan. But we say - no layoffs. An answer must be found for each person."
A day earlier, Airbus said an announcement on its long-awaited restructuring plan - called the "Power8" turnaround strategy - had been delayed.
The European aircraft maker called off a works council meeting and news conference at which the strategy would have been unveiled Tuesday, after French and German shareholders of parent company EADS failed to agree on where to build the A350 XWB - a planned rival to Boeing Co.'s mid-sized 787.
Villepin said French President Jacques Chirac would discuss the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a meeting Friday.
"It's a question we want to address at the highest level," Villepin said.
France's two main financial newspapers, Les Echos and La Tribune, reported Monday that Airbus head Louis Gallois was seeking to cut close to 10,000 jobs, sell off some production units and centralize assembly of the A350 in France, in exchange for agreeing to build a future revamp of the single-aisle A320 airliner in Germany.
Under the plan, France and Germany would each contribute between 3,000 and 4,000 of the job cuts, Les Echos said. Airbus and EADS have both declined to comment on the restructuring proposals or the discussions.
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