A FRESH ROUND of job cuts in the US aerospace industry is in prospect, with both Boeing and Raytheon negotiating early- retirement incentives for thousands of workers.

Raytheon says that it has offered to buy out the contracts of around 2,300 non-union employees now approaching retirement age. The group says that the offer would help towards targeted cost savings of $135 million this year, including a 9% reduction in its 21,000 strong workforce.

The moves are part of Raytheon's longer-term target to secure annual cost savings of $600 million within the next five years. Raytheon has already raised the threat of moving its base away from California if costs cannot be contained.

Boeing has offered a retirement- incentive scheme to around 13,000 staff as part of its drive to trim 7,000 jobs from its workforce. Boeing says that the scheme, which is likely to cost up to $400 million, is aimed at reducing the need for compulsory redundancies.

So far this year, the group has notified as many as 6,000 workers that they could be laid off. Since its peak in 1989, the Boeing workforce has been slashed by around 49,000 to reach its current level of 117,000.

At the start of 1993, Boeing announced a two-year plan to shed 28,000 jobs, but the final cuts appear to have fallen a couple of thousand short of the target. Company reports show that 17,000 jobs were shed during 1993 and another 9,000 are understood to have gone in 1994.

Source: Flight International