Dassault eases part-time work schedule

 - February 23, 2010, 10:37 AM

Dassault has reduced the scope of the part-time working arrangement it implemented in September last year in four factories in France. Some 1,400 employees are affected in two factories now, with little impact on their salaries. Company management expects to give the workers their next update in July.

In Biarritz, where the facility specializes in Falcon composite materials and subassemblies, the part-time working arrangement will last until May. In the Martignas factory, which builds wings for Falcons and the Rafale fighter, it will last until June. At both locations, employees now have just three days of forced leave per month.

“We are in less of a predicament,” Raymond Ducrest, central representative for the CFDT union, told AIN, “since we resolved the bottleneck,” which was caused by the brutal downturn and translated into a flurry of cancellations last year. These cancellations occurred when Falcon production was high and ramping up.

The arrangement translates into a net 3- to 5-percent cut in wages for non-executive employees (1,120 are still affected), thanks in part to national unemployment insurance. Under a national agreement in the so-called metal industry branch, executives (some 280) will see no reduction in their total earnings.

When the plan was announced, all employees were to surrender one day of vacation, to keep some social benefits that would otherwise be cut, as they are now based on the 75-percent salary. The company eventually allowed the employees to keep their day of vacation and still funds the aforementioned benefits.

In addition to implementing a part-time work arrangement, Dassault has stopped allowing overtime and has asked employees who reached retirement age to retire. On-site subcontracting has been terminated. Dassault is also keeping a close eye on expenses, Ducrest said.

The company has not revealed its backlog, according to Ducrest, but it is making deliveries of all of its Falcon series (the 2000, 900 and 7X), he said. Ducrest fears that CEO Charles Edelstenne and his team might announce other forms of action at the next meeting of the workers’ council in July. The company’s workforce is about 8,000 in France. A company spokesman declined to comment.