Oil refinery strike to extend to next week

Workers at nine oil refineries will continue to strike after their union rejected the sixth contract offer from Royal Dutch Shell.

The Thursday rejection means talks between the United Steelworkers, which represents employees at 63 refineries and other facilities, will carry on until next week.

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“The parties have recessed and have agreed to resume talks,” Shell spokesman Ray Fisher told Reuters after the rejection. Shell is negotiating on behalf of a group of oil companies.

The union confirmed the rejection to Reuters, saying it encouraged workers to vote against the offer because it “offers minimal movement.”

The workers, whose plants represent about 10 percent of the country’s refining capacity, have been on strike since Sunday after failing to come to a contract deal.

It is the first major walkout in the refining sector since 1980.

The union wants more rules to reduce worker fatigue, a 6 percent pay bump and measures to prioritize union members for work over contract workers.

The 50 percent drop in oil prices is making negotiating tougher for the union than in previous negotiations and giving Shell a major bargaining chip, Reuters said.