Norway oil workers get 4.5 pct wage hike in forced settlement

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

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

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

"It is important to us to keep the pension question outside regular wage negotiations," said Haavard Hauan, a spokesman for the Norwegian Oil and Gas Industry Association, the industry's chief lobby group.

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

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

(Reporting by Vegard Botterli; Editing by Balazs Koranyi)

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