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German union calls for strikes at Airbus

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FILE PHOTO: The Airbus logo pictured at the company's headquarters in Blagnac near Toulouse
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  • EADSY

BERLIN (Reuters) - German labour union IG Metall has called for strikes at aircraft maker Airbus and its unit Premium Aerotec amid a dispute over the business's future structure.

"If there is no solution soon this will become a major conflict," IG Metall district leader Daniel Friedrich said on Wednesday.

The dispute centres on a shake-up announced in April under which Airbus's Premium Aerotec unit in Germany would be split off, with part of it combined with other Airbus manufacturing plants and the rest folded into a new business specialising in small mass-produced parts which could be spun off.

The unit has been loss-making for years, and Airbus has argued that with a new owner it could also work for competitors or win customers from other industries, and thus better utilise its workforce.

IG Metall demands that Airbus drop its plan to hive off the business, which makes components for commercial and military aircraft, and safeguard its jobs and sites, mainly in Augsburg and Varel near Bremen. The business has around 3,500 employees.

IG Metall said that workers would stage protests on Thursday and planned a virtual rally on Friday.

(Reporting by Christina Amann Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Mark Potter)