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Norway oil workers get 4.5 pct wage hike in forced settlement

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OSLO, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Norwegian oil workers, who went onstrike for better conditions this summer, will get a 4.5 percentpay increase but not the right to retire early, the LabourMinistry ruled in a forced dispute settlement on Thursday.

Offshore workers had demanded higher wages and the right toretire at 62 but oil companies refused to even negotiate aboutretirement issues.

Workers then went on a 16-day strike in July, reducing oiloutput by 13 percent, and only returned to work after thegovernment broke up the strike to protect Norway's reputation asa safe oil exporter.

"It is important to us to keep the pension question outsideregular wage negotiations," said Haavard Hauan, a spokesman forthe Norwegian Oil and Gas Industry Association, the industry'schief lobby group.

Oil workers are barred for two years from going on strikeover the same issue.

Norway is the world's eight biggest oil exporter andEurope's second biggest natural gas supplier.

(Reporting by Vegard Botterli; Editing by Balazs Koranyi)

((Vegard.Botterli@thomsonreuters.com)(+47 2293 6976))

Keywords: NORWAY OIL/WAGES

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