Business & Finance

Ford Motor Co. was to announce a major new round of job cuts affecting employees in the US and Europe. The move comes as members of the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) ratified a new contract with the company that allows for the closing of two assembly plants and divestment of three parts factories. It also follows an announcement by rival DaimlerChrysler of thousands of layoffs following ratification of its new pact with the UAW. According to the Detroit News, Ford will cut 5,200 jobs in Europe, the bulk of them in Belgium. In the US, the News said, 1,700 contract workers and 50 salaried employees will be let go, and 1,300 vacant positions will not be filled.

Deere & Co., a leading maker of farm and lawn implements, and the UAW announced tentative agreement on a new contract. The six-year deal affects 7,000 workers at plants and parts depots in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado, and Georgia. Terms were withheld pending a ratification vote by the union's members. Deere is based in Moline, Ill.

Verizon Communications is offering a buyout to all 74,000 of its nonunion managers, the company confirmed Tuesday, saying it expects several thousand to accept. The voluntary severance plan is part of an ongoing drive to cut costs, and Verizon plans to make a similar offer as soon as next month to 12,000 unionized employees who are eligible for retirement. Verizon is the nation's No. 1 local phone company.

In a new blow to the struggling economy of Germany, one of its largest public utilities said it will cut 3,700 jobs. EnBW (Energie Baden-W├╝rttemberg) announced the move despite a threat by the German service workers' union to strike if layoffs were ordered. The company reported a $1 billion operating loss for the first half of the year.

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