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Striking Canadian Safran workers make new offer to avert lengthy walkout, union says

FILE PHOTO: 54th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Striking Montreal-area Safran workers who make components for landing gear used in Airbus and Boeing jets have made a counter offer that could avert a longer dispute, a union official told Reuters on Friday.

Workers who produce forgings for the landing gear used in aircraft like Airbus's A320 family and A350 jets, along with Boeing's 787, began a seven-day strike on Tuesday and are ready to walk off the job indefinitely if they don't reach a deal, union local president Michael Durand said.

Unions have recently capitalized on tight labor markets and high inflation to win hefty contracts at the bargaining table across North America, with airline pilots, autoworkers and others scoring big raises in 2023.

The strike comes as Airbus, the world's largest planemaker, is facing new output pressure, Reuters reported earlier on Friday, as it struggles to overcome parts and labor shortages to build more aircraft to meet airline demand.

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Boeing, which is wrestling with a manufacturing crisis following a January mid-flight panel blowout on a near new 737 MAX jet, recently said it has reduced output of its 787 due to supplier shortages.

Durand said a short-term strike would likely not impact production of Airbus's strongest-selling A320, but "if this goes on for more than two weeks, Airbus will be making calls."

Boeing and Airbus both deferred questions about the labor dispute to Safran, which was not immediately available for comment.

The union has previously asked for an estimated 22% raise over three years for Safran's 130 workers, after their latest six-year contract ended in December 2023 with an 8.6% salary hike.

Safran has offered a 14% raise over three years, he said.

"We need to catch up on salary," said Durand of the Confederation des syndicats nationaux union.

(Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Bill Berkrot)