Boeing agrees four year pay deal to end strike

Around 27,000 striking assembly workers agreed to a four-year pay deal and crossed the picket line on Sunday, November 2, ending a 58 day strike at the plane maker's Seattle plant.

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Around 27,000 striking assembly workers agreed to a four-year pay deal and crossed the picket line on Sunday, November 2, ending a 58 day strike at the plane maker's Seattle plant.

International Association of Machinists' and Aerospace workers and Boeing management agreed a 15% pay rise and an immediate 16% pension increase after two months of talks.

Workers originally downed their tools on September 6 after rejecting Boeing's initial offer, demanding better pay and limits on outsourcing.

"We're looking forward to having our team back together to resume the work of building airplanes for our customers," said Scott Carson, Boeing commercial president and CEO.

"This new contract addresses the union's job security issues while enabling Boeing to retain the flexibility needed to run the business. It rewards employees for their contribution to our success with industry-leading pay and benefits and allows us to remain competitive."

The new contract adds long-term stability for Boeing, its employees, customers, suppliers and communities. Representatives from the machinists' union were pleased with the results after holding on for the right deal: "We locked in pensions. We locked in health care and there is not a lot of people in this country right now that can say that," IAM Aerospace coordinator Mark Blondin, told Reuters.

Boeing said the first 25 days of the strike cut profit by about US$250 million, as it was unable to deliver planes to customers. The whole strike could see $600 million shaved off the company's net profit, the company's latest figures show.

The Chicago-based company reassured customers that orders were back on track. It stated its Middle East orders will not be affected. However, exercising caution, airlines such as Qatar Airways who have 60 Boeing 787-8 orders decided to defer the launch of their new service to Houston until next March.

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