French minister urges Airbus to protect as many jobs as possible


TOULOUSE, France, July 23 (Reuters) - French Junior Economy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher on Thursday urged planemaker Airbus AIR.PA to protect as many jobs as possible, keeping up pressure on the company to try and avoid making compulsory job cuts.

She said Airbus should take advantage of France's 15 billion euros ($17.4 billion) state support package for the country's aerospace industry to keep as many jobs as possible.

"I call on Airbus and to those companies that make big orders to bear up to their responsibilities, namely to try and find within their companies as many solutions and mechanisms as possible," said Pannier-Runacher, regarding protecting jobs in the aerospace sector.

Airbus AIR.PA plans to cut up to 15,000 jobs because of a drop in demand due to the coronavirus crisis. It has refused to rule out compulsory cuts but has offered to spare 3,000 jobs in return for French and German furlough support and research aid.

Earlier on Thursday, thousands of Spanish Airbus employees staged a protest over job cuts outside a factory near Madrid, waving banners and chanting through face-masks.

($1 = 0.8617 euros)

(Reporting by Julie Rimbert; Editing by Tim Hepher/Sudip Kar-Gupta/Nicolas Delame)

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