Boeing may start layoffs if US shutdown drags on

AFP - Boeing said Saturday it may have to send home workers in its defense, space and security unit without pay if the US government shutdown in a budget battle continues.

"While the company is working to limit the negative impact of the shutdown on customers and employees, we expect some consequences could emerge in the coming days, including limited furloughs of employees in some areas," the company said in an email to AFP.

"At this time, we expect the furloughs to be limited to employees in Boeing Defense, Space & Security."

The US aerospace and defense giant's announcement came as the partial federal government shutdown ground through a 12th day with no sign of a political budget deal to end it, and as the nation careened toward an October 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling or face a catastrophic default.

The failure of Congress to agree a budget for 2014 fiscal year that began on October 1 forced the shutdown of so-called "nonessential" government operations, furloughing hundreds of thousands of civil servants and dramatically disrupting military contract work because the Pentagon has no money to cover compulsory inspections and audits.

Boeing said the furloughs would be ordered "as a result of customers issuing stop work orders, limiting access to federal installations where Boeing employees work, and curtailing government inspections or eliminating funds to continue operations."

The Chicago-based company did not say how many employees it could furlough from Boeing Defense, Space & Security, which has 59,000 employees worldwide.

Boeing also noted the shutdown was negatively impacting activities such as for NASA and other government customers, and that it was continuing to work with its customers and suppliers to maintain normal operations in as many parts of its business as possible.