Interview with Gérard Patot, EWC chairman at EADS
Question: Which challenges EADS stands today and which ones the most serious are for the European works council?
Patot: The situation at Airbus is by far the greatest challenge for us. It turns out all right for EADS, except for
Airbus, the orderbooks are fuller than last year. Airbus is, however, the greatest division within the EADS group and
agrees on the largest portion of sales volume with that. If Airbus coughs, EADS has the flu.
Question: How you have reacted to it?
Patot: The EWC members have used the information and consultation rights first of course both in the EADS EWC and in the
Airbus EWC to inform themselves about the situation at Airbus. At the two levels additional meetings of the EWCs take
place, Airbus EWC meets every 14 days, committees of the EADS EWC once a month. The last decision concerns a study to
the financial situation of Airbus, this was ordered by us to a German French researcher team to make sure that no side
feels taken advantage.
Question: The different cultural backgrounds of the EWC members play which role?
Patot: The differences lie in the trade union practice. Generally, one can say, that the Anglo-Saxon compromise oriented
model stands on one side and the rather confrontational Latin model on the other. There are problems of understanding
and quite different perception of problems -- as well the approach to it. It is our task to bring different attempts
Question: How one can imagine this?
Patot: E.g. we will hold an EWC seminar to the differences in industrial relations in September 2007 on the four countries
which the EWC members come out of.
Question: The cooperation makes what easier in the EWC for you?
Patot: Everything which happens at a European level is relatively simple. The problems arise at national transposition
because every country has specific procedures. We should nevertheless orientate on a common problem solution now.
Question: Which role play the politics for EADS?
Patot: I personally think that the politics rather complicates everything by its short-term way of thinking. The problem
politicians argue over also will last after the great political debates but nobody else then talks about it such as in the
course of the French election campaign. With the state this is different: the state is an important customer, supports
research and development and is shareholder.
Question: The European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) plays which role?
Patot: The trade unions negotiation power is rather big at EADS. The EMF supports, makes possible and coordinates the
negotiation. On the suppliers level who have a less developed trade union structure and a lower negotiation power the role
of the EMF goes further.
Gérard Patot is the chairman of the European works council of EADS and a member of the French trade union confederation
Gérard Patot was interviewed by Kathleen Kollewe on 11th April 2007.
Airbus in the EWC News 1/2007|