The Global Deal

Testing Times for Social Dialogue at Airbus France

Managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has raised an important question, the answer to which will have huge consequences for the job market for years to come: How to balance ongoing measures to maintain existing jobs with the possibility of a structural shift in demand? While it is vital to avoid a massive wave of job destruction that would set back the recovery, it is also important not to obstruct necessary processes of re-allocation. Social partners at Airbus-France are tackling this question together, using social dialogue to find a solution that works for all.

The COVID-19 crisis has stifled demand for new aeroplanes, putting close to 4,200 jobs at Airbus France at risk. This difficult situation has put social dialogue at the company to the test. However, a strong tradition and culture of social dialogue exists in the company. With the common objective of mitigating the risk of a scenario of mass redundancies, an intense process of social dialogue took place from July onwards, resulting in two collective agreements at the end of October 2020.

The first agreement aimed to save 1,500 jobs for factory-related workers by making use of a new scheme made available by the French government and whereby a short-time work scheme is implemented over a period of two years. To address the problem of the remaining 2,500 jobs at risk, a second agreement was negotiated, shifting the focus from protecting existing jobs to promoting the security of workers to remain employed, both within and outside the company. This entails a mix of measures to promote job mobility, from support to find a job elsewhere to engaging in professional training. These agreements illustrate how social dialogue offers a pragmatic way to navigate the uncertainties surrounding the crisis by striking a balance between maintaining jobs and reallocating workers into different jobs, and doing this together as social partners.




Involved Global Deal Partners