Northwest Airlines and its unionized mechanics reached a tentative contract agreement, ending 4-1/2 years of negotiations two days before arbitrators were to recommend settlement terms. Details were not released. Talks between the US's No. 4 carrier and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association collapsed last month, but President Bush appointed an emergency board to propose a solution, an action that prevented a strike for 60 days. The union's rank-and-file are expected to vote on the proposal in a few weeks.
In a $13.8 billion deal that will further consolidate the world's electric utility industry, E.ON of Germany said it has won agreement to acquire Powergen PLC, Britain's second-largest power supplier. The transaction also gives E.ON a foothold in the US, since Powergen bought Kentucky's Louisville Gas & Electric last year. E.ON chairman Ulrich Hartmann said his company also has set its sights on further acquisitions in the US.
As many as 3,000 jobs are to be cut by Marconi PLC, in yet another blow to the telecommunications industry, according to published reports. The London-based group formerly known as The General Electric Company (not to be confused with the US corporation of the same name) makes networking equipment and provides support services. Last week, French rival Alcatel said it will cut 1,100 jobs. Other recent telecommunications industry layoff announcements, numbering tens of thousands of workers, have come from Cisco Systems, Lucent, Nortel, Ericsson, Nokia, and Motorola.
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