Workers at Harland and Wolff shipbuilders narrowly accepted a pay offer that could throw a lifeline to the yard that built the Titanic, their union said. The margin was slim at 424 to 389 to support what management said were final proposals that would give skilled employees about $475 a week. That wage would be guaranteed until at least January 2003 and include a further bonus opportunity.
The Northern Ireland yard
, majority-owned by Norway
's Fred Olsen Energy, could be poised to win a $613 million order for four Norwegian ferries that may help it avoid closing its gates for good. "According to the negotiations we have been having with the company, there is an order now available on the basis that we were prepared to accept these proposals," Joe Bowers of the MSF union said.