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Boeing's defence unit to sack 800 employees

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Axe falls on Boeing's defence unit staff. File photo

NEW YORK (BNS): Boeing on Thursday announced its plans to cut approximately 800 positions at its Integrated Defense Systems facility in Wichita during 2009.

The lay-offs would cover the entire range of workers from managers to hourly workers. The proposed job cut would affect the Integrated Defense Systems of the company whose workforce would be reduced by 27 per cent after the sacking order is executed, according to a company press release.

The aircraft manufacturing giant claimed that job cuts became inevitable after the US Air Force delayed the tanker replacement programme. It was hoping for some big orders from other countries and was relying on the bulk order to keep its assembly lines in flow, it said.

The Integrated Defense Systems produces a large number of equipment for the armed forces. This includes 767 International Tanker and B-52/Refueling Systems support.

To begin with, 76 workers would be served sack notice on Friday and a series of dismissals will follow in the coming months.

"We regret the need to reduce employment. We understand the disruptions that layoffs cause in personal lives and in our community," Scott Strode, vice president and general manager of Boeing Wichita.

"However, a combination of events are limiting our business options and forcing us to reduce our current employee total. We are also taking steps to restructure our business in order to lower our rates and become more affordable for customers."

The Wichita facility is one of the biggest units employing 3,000 people. "Our goal is to place more work in Wichita, but while we seek new business, it is vital for the future health of Boeing Wichita that we address our current business realities," said Strode.

As compensation, Boeing is offering help in finding jobs for the sacked staff.

The Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defence businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St Louis, it is a $32.1 billion business with 71,000 employees worldwide.

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