Thousands of Spanish Airbus workers protest layoff plan
By Guillermo Martinez and Sergio Perez GETAFE, Spain (Reuters) - Thousands of Spanish Airbus employees gathered outside a factory near Madrid on Thursday, waving banners and chanting through face-masks, to protest against a restructuring plan that will see hundreds of jobs lost. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought air travel to a screeching halt, hammering demand for the planes and systems that Airbus produces. The company, which is 4% owned by the Spanish government, has said it will lay off about 900 workers in Spain as part of cuts of 15,000 jobs worldwide
By Guillermo Martinez and Sergio Perez
GETAFE, Spain (Reuters) - Thousands of Spanish Airbus employees gathered outside a factory near Madrid on Thursday, waving banners and chanting through face-masks, to protest against a restructuring plan that will see hundreds of jobs lost.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought air travel to a screeching halt, hammering demand for the planes and systems that Airbus produces. The company, which is 4% owned by the Spanish government, has said it will lay off about 900 workers in Spain as part of cuts of 15,000 jobs worldwide.
"We're protesting because the company, taking advantage of this temporary situation of COVID-19, wants to get rid of 900 workers," said Jose Luis Collado, who has worked at the company for 41 years.
"This is a temporary situation. It's going to pass and we don't understand why we're being thrown out on the street."
From the factory, the protesters marched 2 km to Getafe's town hall where the mayor gave a speech in support of the workers.
"For us it's about defending our rights, defending Spain's aerospace sector. It needs to be supported," said Lorena Fernandez, another protester with 11 years at the company.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said at the beginning of this month that the government was working with Airbus to find ways to keep jobs in the country, but so far no details on any rescue plan have been released.
France and Germany will bear the brunt of the layoffs, with around 5,000 apiece. But the loss of 900 manufacturing jobs in Spain is nonetheless a blow for an economy that has been among the worst hit in Europe by the fallout from the pandemic.
Before the coronavirus crisis, Airbus was already planning to cut around 700 jobs in Spain.
In recent months Japanese automaker Nissan has said it will close three plants in Catalonia, while Alcoa is in the process of shutting an aluminium factory in the northwestern region of Galicia.
(Reporting by Guillermo Martinez, Sergio Perez and Silvio Castellanos; Writing by Nathan Allen; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Pravin Char)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.