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Boeing reduces size of tech workforce amid competitiveness drive

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, in this April 24, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Jim Young/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N) said on Wednesday it was reducing the size of its tech support unit as part of an ongoing drive to lower costs.

The company declined to comment on how many Information Technology workers are being laid off, after the Seattle Times reported on Tuesday that hundreds of IT jobs were being cut.

The reductions are across the company, and reflect tech-support work being reduced, "not work that is being shifted or outsourced," Boeing spokeswoman Lauren McFarland said.

The cost cuts come as the Chicago-based aerospace and defense company battles for sales with European rival Airbus (AIR.PA).

"There is an enterprise-wide effort to increase our competitiveness in today's global aerospace marketplace," she said. "As a result, Boeing is engaging in non-labor and labor reductions to help enable the business to meet and exceed customer requirements."

The job reductions will take place in mid-July, after 60-day notices were sent to workers last week, McFarland said.

The layoffs are involuntary and include managers and non-managers, she said. The reductions are separate from the voluntary job reductions Boeing is making in its commercial airplanes unit, she added.

Boeing's engineers union said none of the IT layoffs would affect its members. Boeing has eliminated 71 IT jobs held by its members since March 2012, said Bill Dugovich, spokesman for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Andrew Hay)