© 2004
Interview with Gérard Patot, EWC chairman at EADS

FotoFotoQuestion: 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 together.

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 CGT-FO.

Gérard Patot was interviewed by Kathleen Kollewe on 11th April 2007.

Further information:

Report on Airbus in the EWC News 1/2007

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