The Times of London may never be published again after a breakdown in final negotiations between management and printers union officials early today.
A final decision on the paper's future will be made by the full board of Times Newspapers and its owner, Thomson International. Lord Thomson, owner of The Times, is flying in from Canada for the meeting later today.
Emotional union officials walked out of the talks in the Times' London offices at 1 a.m., ending three days of nonstop brinkmanship negotiating to keep alive the paper and its four companion publications, including The Sunday Times. The dispute centers on The Times' desire to introduce computerized printing that will make many traditional printing jobs obsolete.
Times management had set midnight Wednesday as the final deadline for all talks with the union.
Les Dixon, general president of the National Gaphical Association representing 620 Times printers, said after he had left the talks, "if the management means what they say, this is the end of The Times."
A tired William Rees Mogg, editor of The Times, refused to confirm Dixon's prognosis, saying only "This is a very grave situation for The Times. It is very sad and very regrettable."