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The Airbus plant in Varel will not be sold: the employees have decided

D.The Airbus plant in Varel will not be sold, but will remain within the group and will be refurbished. This decision was not made by the management, but by the workforce itself, or more precisely by the unions among the employees who were called to vote last Friday and this Monday. 74.5 percent of IG Metall’s employees among employees voted for the permanence of the Varel plant.

1173 employees voted, or 94 percent of those entitled to vote. The degree of organization at the East Frisian plant is so high that almost the entire workforce voted in favor.

However, it wasn’t an easy decision. In a month-long struggle over the future of the Airbus Group structure, IG Metall negotiated precisely this basic democratic decision-making option. The North Rhine-Westphalia supplier Mubea was available as a potential investor for the plant, having promoted their solution with several top manager visits over the past few weeks.

As a result, Varel’s mid-sized company saw an opportunity to reduce its dependence on the automotive industry and expand its business with the aviation industry. To this end, the workforce in Varel is expected to be increased to 1,450 jobs over the next few years.

Emotional debate on both concepts

However, staying within the Airbus Group will only be possible with a restructuring that foresees a reduction in the workforce from the current 1,200 to 1,000 employees by 2025. However, this was not a threat scenario for active employees. Under the agreement with IG Metall from January to 2030, layoffs for operational reasons are excluded if they remain in the Airbus Group. In the case of the investor solution, jobs would have been guaranteed until 2033.

The discussions on these two concepts were conducted with emotion, but at the same time with a great awareness that the future prospects of the plant are at stake, said Daniel Friedrich, head of IG Metall Coast.

Talks on the restructuring of the Varel plant will now begin shortly with the managers of Airbus and hopefully conclude in May, Friedrich said. So the new Airbus facility, which has been negotiated for a long time, could be rolled out on 1 July as planned.

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