US defense contractor Lockheed Martin said Friday it would put 3,000 workers on unpaid leave Monday due to the government shutdown.

Lockheed said the number of employees furloughed was expected to increase weekly in the event of a prolonged shutdown.

The furloughs include employees who are unable to work because the government facility where they perform their work is closed, or their work requires a government inspection that cannot be completed, or the company has received a stop-work order, the Bethesda, Maryland-based defense contractor said in a statement.

Lockheed expressed hope that the budget deadlock between Democrats and Republicans that forced a partial shutdown of the federal government Tuesday would be overcome quickly.

"I'm disappointed that we must take these actions and we continue to encourage our lawmakers to come together to pass a funding bill that will end this shutdown," said Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed's chief executive and president, said in the statement.

"In an effort to minimize the impact on our employees, we are directing affected employees to use available vacation time so they can continue to receive their pay and benefits. We hope that Congress and the Administration are able to resolve this situation as soon as possible."

Shares in Lockheed were down 0.4 percent in afternoon trade in New York.

Another major Pentagon contractor, United Technologies, announced Wednesday it could be forced to furlough thousands of staff as soon as next week if the government shutdown persisted.

United Technologies said it expected 2,000 workers at Sikorsky Aircraft, which produces the Black Hawk helicopter, to be placed on furlough on Monday.

If the shutdown continued through next week, Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems would also be affected, with an additional 2,000 workers suspended.

The total could exceed 5,000 employees if the shutdown continues into next month, the company said.

 

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