Norway oil workers, firms extend wage talks-arbitrator

OSLO, June 16 Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:28pm EDT

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OSLO, June 16 (Reuters) - Offshore oil workers and energy firms in Norway agreed to continue talks on wages past a midnight deadline, the state arbitrator said on Wednesday, raising hopes that a strike in the North Sea may be averted.

"We have a constructive dialogue and this is something to build on," Nils Dalseide, arbitrator for Norway's National Arbitration Tribunal, told Reuters.

"There are still several unresolved issues," he added, declining to comment on the specific issues.

The parties have not agreed to any new deadline and will continue talks into the night, he said.

Around 400 workers on the Gullfaks B and Gullfaks C fields, which are operated by Statoil (STL.OL), and Shell's (RDSa.L) Draugen field, have been planning to strike from Thursday if no agreement is reached with management over pay.

"As long as we have a dialogue we will continue to work with an aim to do whatever is possible to find a solution," Dalseide said.

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