Today, the European Commission has proposed that 297 dismissed Airbus workers in France, who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, will be supported with €3.7 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for Displaced Workers (EGF). The funding will help them find new jobs through advice on how to start their own business and start-up grants.
Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said: “Especially in times of crisis, EU solidarity is crucial. Through the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, we will empower 297 people in the aeronautic sector in France who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic to relaunch their careers with targeted advice on business creation and grants to help them set-up their own company.”
The COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions hit the aeronautic sector hard and the related economic crisis reduced the purchasing power of many air transport customers. Plans to buy new aircraft were put on hold or cancelled, and many aircraft were retired prematurely as part of airlines’ restructuring plans.
In France, despite the wide use of short-time work schemes, Airbus had to implement a restructuring plan and many workers lost their jobs. Thanks to the EGF, 297 former Airbus workers will receive targeted active labour market support to help them start their own business and return to work.
The €3.7 million from the EGF will help finance training for business creation and start-up grants of up to €15,000 per participant. Participants will also receive a contribution towards their accommodation, food and transportation costs related to participating in the training. In addition, former workers taking up a new job may be eligible for a top-up of their salaries, if they are lower than in their previous job.
The total estimated cost of the support measures is €4.4 million, of which the EGF will cover 85% (€3.7 million). Airbus will provide the remaining amount (€0.7 million). The EGF support is part of the overall support package offered by Airbus to the dismissed employees. However, the EGF support goes beyond what Airbus as the dismissing company is legally obliged to provide.
The Commission’s proposal requires approval by the European Parliament and the Council.
Airbus’ commercial aircraft production generated 67% of the overall turnover of Airbus. As of April 2020, production levels were down by one third and the Airbus workforce was reduced accordingly.
The initial restructuring plan foresaw a cut of 4,248 jobs in France. Thanks to measures introduced by the French government to remedy the economic consequences of the pandemic (such as legislation allowing enterprises to temporarily hire out staff to other enterprises and short-term work schemes), the number of dismissals was significantly reduced to 2,246 jobs.
Nonetheless, the dismissals are expected to have a significant impact, particularly on the Occitan regional labour market and economy. The city of Toulouse and its surrounding region are a major aeronautical cluster in Europe with 110,000 people employed in the sector. The region is heavily dependent on aeronautics and Airbus is the largest private employer in the region. The 35% reduction of production plans at Airbus will likely have severe consequences on employment in the whole sector, also affecting the large number of suppliers. The dismissals are also likely to have an impact on the Pays de la Loire region, even if this regional economy is more diversified.
Under the new EGF regulation 2021-2027, the Fund continues to support displaced workers and the self-employed whose activity has been lost. With the new rules, EGF support becomes more easily available for people affected by restructuring events: all types of unexpected major restructuring events can be eligible for support, including the economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as larger economic trends like decarbonisation and automation. Member States can apply for EU funding when at least 200 workers lose their jobs within a specific reference period.
Since 2007, the EGF has made available some €652 million in 166 cases, offering help to nearly 164,000 people in 20 Member States. EGF supported measures add to national active labour market measures.
Source: EGF to support almost 300 dismissed Airbus workers in France (europa.eu)
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