Leaders of the Daily News' nine striking unions have given British publisher Robert Maxwell what he wanted - more than a third of their jobs. Now he could buy the money-losing tabloid by week's end.

The drivers' union and the Newspaper Guild, which represents reporters and editors at what was once the nation's largest-ciruclation newspaper, were the last unions to come to terms with Maxwell on Tuesday.The News' owner, the Tribune Co. of Chicago, had demanded similar job cuts but also wanted control over staffing and work rules. In resolving the violent, 41/2-month strike, Maxwell agreed to give unions a say on those issues.

"What we're doing is working with a work force in partnership rather than treating them as though they were the enemy within and without," Maxwell said after striking tentative deals with the last two holdout unions.

Union members must ratify the tentative pacts.

Maxwell, wearing a Daily News baseball cap and a red bow tie, told reporters he sees the News as a newspaper dedicated to "service, information and amusement."

Last week he agreed to buy the News provided he could reach cost-cutting settlements with the unions. News management said the paper, which has been bled financially by the strike, would fold Friday if it were not sold by then.

Though more than a third of 2,300 News employees stand to lose their jobs, Maxwell's impending purchase represents "a complete victory, a tremendous victory for the American labor movement," striking columnist Juan Gonzalez said.

The strike was seen as a major showdown for the future of unions.