Eurocopter Boosts Productivity with Union Agreement

 - June 11, 2009, 6:44 AM

Eurocopter has signed a new agreement on production working time with four of five unions represented at the company in France. The main goal is to adapt to higher production rates, while making provisions for possible ramp-downs. Due to numerous different arrangements in the previous agreement, there are only 4.5 hours per day when all production employees are gathered around the line. Under the new agreement, this will increase to six hours, which the lean manufacturing process requires, according to a Eurocopter spokesman. “The 1998 agreement was devised for 200 helicopters per year–we are now at 600,” he told AIN. The work week used to last four days, but Fridays will now often be workdays. A so-called “time savings” plan is included in the agreement, which would allow for employees to be paid in case Eurocopter has to temporarily reduce the work schedule. The new agreement will go into effect on September 1 and will cover about 5,000 employees. As part of the agreement, Eurocopter will hire about 40 temporary workers.