International Truck and Engine Corporation and the United Auto Workers union have agreed to extend up to five days their current labour agreements that were scheduled to expire at midnight, September 30.


The extension is subject to termination with 24 hours advance notice by either the company or the union. International Truck and Engine is the operating company of Navistar International Corporation.


International Truck and Engine and the UAW began negotiation towards new labour agreements in late July in Louisville, Kentucky, which was selected by mutual agreement as the site for the 2002 talks. Truck and diesel engine production will continue at current levels during the contract extension.


The UAW represents approximately 7,200 employees in manufacturing plants in Indianapolis, Indiana, Melrose Park, Illinois and Springfield, Ohio; parts distribution centers in Atlanta, Baltimore and Dallas and at the truck technical centre in Fort Wayne, Indiana.


Dan Ustian, Navistar president and chief operating officer, said the company hopes to achieve an agreement that provides it with an affordable cost structure that includes production flexibility and manageable health care costs.


“We are looking for an agreement that represents a shared commitment by our employees and management to ensure the future success of the company,” Ustian said. “Our goal is to get a contract that makes us competitive.”