Almost 25,000 Norwegian industry workers to go on strike

  • Strike action among Norwegian private sector workers
  • Construction, breweries, manufacturing among those affected
  • Conflict set to escalate in the coming days
  • Oil and gas production unaffected

OSLO, April 16 (Reuters) - Almost 25,000 private-sector workers in Norway will go on strike from Monday morning after negotiations with employers broke down, and the industrial action is set to escalate in the following days, two major labour unions said on Sunday.

The strike will affect industries such as construction, breweries, ferry operators and manufacturers, including Aker Solutions (AKSOA.OL), Norsk Hydro (NHY.OL) and Carlsberg Group's (CARLb.CO) Ringnes unit.

Norway's oil and gas production is not affected by the strike, unions said.

Another 16,000 workers are due to strike from April 21 unless an agreement is reached, and the industrial action could ultimately involve around 200,000 workers, unions have said.

The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) is negotiating on behalf of 185,000 members, while the smaller Confederation of Vocational Unions (YS) represents a further 16,000 in the talks.

The unions are demanding an increase in real wages this year after two years of consumer prices rising faster than nominal wages, citing healthy profits in Norwegian industries.

This means that wages would have to rise by 5% or more as Norwegian headline inflation is predicted at 4.9% for the full year, according to a forecast from a commission with members from unions, employers' federations and Statistics Norway.

The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), representing employers, had sought restraint, arguing that wages should not be allowed to rise to an extent that would risk inflation spinning out of control.

"The NHO chose to reject our demands and thereby trigger a strike," LO union boss Peggy Hessen Foelsvik said in a statement.

YS has warned that a strike will affect operations at car dealers and big hotels in the capital as well as work at some offshore installations, but would however not affect oil and gas production or refining.

"The NHO has acted responsibly, but our opponents would not compromise," NHO Chief Executive Ole Erik Almlid said in a statement.

Reporting by Victoria Klesty, editing by Terje Solsvik

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