Thousands in Germany Protest Plan to Cut Jobs
MUNICH, Germany (AP) _ Thousands of Daimler-Benz Aerospace workers protested throughout Germany on Thursday against expected moves to cut jobs and move production out of the country.
Five hundred workers in Bavaria started the day of demonstrations with a predawn chain of lights around the Augsburg factory. They lit 1,718 candles, representing all the factory’s workers, plus the 32 Daimler-Benz Aerospace locations in Germany, where other workers held demonstrations.
The workforce of 700 walked out of DASA’s Speyer factory later in the day, joining about 800 protesters already gathered in the center of town, union official Georg Pfeifenroth said.
Daimler-Benz Chairman Karl Feuerstein told the demonstrators the Speyer factory would not close, spoke against the closing of any factories and promised to keep the aerospace division a Daimler concern.
The company has said only that it is going to have to streamline, and would announce specific plans sometime next month.
The Der Spiegel news weekly reported last month it was told the aerospace concern planned to cut 15,000 of 40,000 jobs.
The weak U.S. dollar has hit the division hard this year, because Europe’s biggest aerospace group buys and sells in the American currency. The company threatened this spring it would begin moving production out of Germany if the dollar did not rise to 1.6 German marks.
After a slight increase in the past few weeks the dollar is trading at about 1.45 marks. The division said its six-month operating losses tripled to 1.6 billion marks, or $1.1 billion, from an operating loss of 429 million marks for the same period in 1994.