Chicago-based Boeing Company has said that a new round of talks last weekend with union representatives of 27,000 machinists, who walked out on their jobs on 6 September, has failed. The five-week-old strike has paralysed commercial aircraft production at the plants of one of the world's two biggest aircraft makers.
"We worked very hard to find solutions, and we are extremely disappointed that the talks broke off," Doug Kight, Boeing's lead negotiator, said in a statement on Monday. "We want to resolve this strike so employees can return to work, but we cannot sacrifice our ability to continuously improve productivity and our long-term competitiveness for an agreement."
Boeing had been in discussions with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents about 27,000 hourly production workers. Talks between the union and Boeing broke off on 5 September and the company closed its assembly lines in Washington state, Oregon and Kansas the next day.
The company and workers are debating issues such as higher pay, use of outside contractors and Boeing's demand that workers pay more for health care. Boeing's offer for an 11 per cent raise in pay over three years is also not acceptable to the unions especially as the company has been booking record orders from customers.
The strike is estimated to have cost the company about $3.5 billion so far in lost revenue. It is also likely to result in a further delay in the delivery schedule for the 787 Dreamliner, the futuristic medium-sized passenger jet, which is already running at least 14 months behind schedule.
The company is already liable for substantial damages, payable to 787 customers, on account of the delays in the programme.