France: wildcat strike at Airbus plant in Méaulte

Airbus plant
Airbus plant

French workers at Airbus and one of its sub-contractors have launched wildcat strikes after a plan for job losses across Europe was unveiled.

Submitted by jef costello on March 8, 2007

Workers in Méaulte have been on strike since midday last Tuesday. After rumours concerning their future some 1,300 Airbus workers and 700 on-site subcontracted employees voted for strike action. Their union, Force Ouvriere, called on them to wait for the official announcement before a strike vote.

Their actions echo the spontaneous walkouts of German Airbus workers reported previously on

Across Europe 10,000 Airbus workers are facing redundacy or having their contracts transferred to subcontractors. Subcontractors who can attack jobs and working conditions far more easily than Airbus itself could hope to.

Beginning in one of the mechanics' workshops the wildcat strike began on Tuesday and spread rapidy throughout the entire plant. While their union argued for a vote to go back to work the workers refused, arguing that if they return to work then any future strike action would be too late.

After the intervention of union officials workers eventually went back to work on Friday, with FO claiming victory and that there would be no job losses. However the rival union CFDT claimed that no assurances had been given. It appears that while a verbal agreement has been made that there will be no job losses, however Airbus has made clear that it has no intention of investing further in the plant and that they will require investment third party partner to keep it open and ultimately to take it over.

On hearing that their victory was a no such thing the workers went back out again almost immediately.

The unions have called an official strike and demonstrations for today (Tuesday) at all four of the Airbus factories in France.