Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, July 8, 1998

Japan Air restructuring its Honolulu operations

A total of 107 Honolulu employees of Japan Airlines Inc. will lose their jobs by the end of August but are being offered positions in a new wholly owned subsidiary, the airline said.

Pay is likely to be lower, but that will be worked out on an individual basis and JAL human resources people are in Honolulu now for one-on-one interviews with the staffers, said Gilbert Kimura, a JAL spokesman in Honolulu.

The employees work in passenger services, cargo and reservations and ticketing.

The current action comes after an announcement in March that JAL would outsource many ground services in several U.S. cities. JAL says it will save expenses, even though the contractors will be JAL subsidiaries, by removing their services from the JAL corporate structure.

Kimura said JAL is offering the Honolulu employees two options -- join the new JAL Hawaii Inc. at pay levels and conditions negotiated individually or leave the company with retirement and/or severance packages.

GM, union make some progress on strike talks

DETROIT -- Bargainers held one of their longest sessions yet to end the United Auto Workers strikes at two General Motors Corp. parts plants, raising hopes that a settlement may be closer.

Negotiations resumed at both plants this morning. Talks had gone late into the night yesterday at the Delphi Flint East plant, while discussions at the Flint Metal Center didn't recess until shortly after midnight.

"We're very pleased with that," GM spokeswoman Mary Irby said today. "They wouldn't have met that long if it weren't for good reason. It fits in with where we want to be in terms of sticking with it until there's a settlement."

A union official agreed that modest progress had been made.

"They had some movement in some areas, more movement than they've had since the strike began," said Norm McComb, first vice president of Local 659 at the Flint Metal Center. "But there's a lot of tough issues ahead. We're not getting excited."

Mortgage loan volume seen spiking up '98

NEW YORK -- Lenders are expected to make $1.08 trillion in mortgage loans in 1998, up sharply from about $843 billion in 1997, but the volume should fall back to $854 billion in 1999, a Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. economist said.

Robert Van Order, chief economist at Freddie Mac, said yesterday that the 1998 loans will largely be made to homeowners who sell existing homes to buy other homes, as well as those who refinance mortgages at lower interest rates. But Van Order said he did not expect refinancings in 1998 to surpass 1993 levels because mortgage rates have been low in recent years, so borrowers do not have as much incentive to refinance as they did five years ago.

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