Earnings, Commerse & Trading | Financial news

Boeing gets 1,880 union workers to take voluntary layoffs

´╗┐Boeing Co (BA. N) has accepted 1,880 voluntary layoffs from its union machinists and engineers in the Seattle area, the unions said on Thursday, part of the jet maker's drive to cut costs through job reductions and other measures. Boeing's machinists union, the touch labor that builds airplanes near Seattle, said about 1,575 workers had taken voluntary layoffs by the deadline in February. Boeing's white-collar union said Boeing accepted 305 members for voluntary layoffs in January. Last year, Boeing cut about 1,200 white-collar union jobs - 850 through voluntary layoffs and 350 through involuntary reductions, said Bill Dugovich, spokesman for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. "Boeing has told us to expect about the same number of total layoffs in 2017 as 2016," he said. The job reductions had been announced last year and workers had until Feb. 1 to apply.

"These are all voluntary, where people planned to retire or had other plans," said Connie Kelliher, a spokeswoman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751. COST-CUTTING DRIVE

Boeing said it did not have a specific target number for its job reductions at the commercial airplane unit but was sticking with the broad plan of reducing jobs it outlined in December."We are reducing costs and aligning employment levels to business and market requirements," spokesman Paul Bergman said. "Employment reductions will come through a combination of attrition, leaving open positions unfilled, voluntary layoff program and in some cases, involuntary layoffs."

Boeing offered the buyouts to workers last year as part of an 8 percent workforce reduction at its commercial airplane business. The unit had about 74,600 workers at the end of February. Boeing said in December it would cut an as-yet-undetermined number of jobs in 2017. No machinists have had involuntary layoffs for several years, Kelliher said. Boeing's shares closed down 0.5 percent at $182.99 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Marriott to speed up expansion of Starwood brands CEO

´╗┐Hotels group Marriott International (MAR. O) is planning to speed up the expansion of brands acquired in the takeover of rival Starwood, and is not ruling out further additions to its portfolio, its chief executive said on Monday. Arne Sorenson also said 2017 was shaping up to be a solid year, though with some clouds on the horizon."We are concerned about whether national policies around travel roll out in a way that is harmful to our business and economies," he said on the sidelines of the IHIF hotel conference in Berlin, highlighting political changes in the United States and Britain, and upcoming elections in Europe. Marriott, with brands including Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance and Autograph, completed the acquisition of Starwood in September, adding names such as Sheraton, W and Aloft to create the world's largest hotel chain with more than more than 6,000 properties in 122 countries. Sorenson said Marriott wanted to keep up the same rate of expansion as before the deal, meaning faster growth for the Starwood brands. He said a new Marriott group hotel would open on average every 15 hours in 2017.

"We think with Aloft we can really ramp it up and grow them at a faster pace than Starwood," Sorenson said. He noted that while it had taken Aloft about a decade to reach 100 hotels globally, Marriott's comparable AC Hotels had reached that figure since 2014 in the United States alone.

Even with 30 brands now, Marriott was not ruling out further additions to its portfolio, Sorenson added. "We don't think we've grown to the point where we're complete, we think we have a lot of growth ahead of us," he said, noting that even in the United States Marriott only had a market share of 14-15 percent. In a nod to competition from apartment rentals, Sorenson said the Element brand acquired via Starwood was considering a concept for rooms with shared communal space. That could be suitable for groups such as hen parties or college reunions.

"A hotel's not been a great place for them," he said. Despite the addition of more upscale brands via Starwood, the fastest rate of growth in Europe would still come from the Moxy budget brand, Europe head Amy McPherson said, with plans to open 18,000 rooms over the next three years from 1,000 now.