A STRIKE by 24,000 US oil refinery workers was averted on Sunday after both sides had agreed to extend negotiations.

Workers at refineries near New Orleans, Houston and Billings, Montana, will turn up for their shifts on Monday, after negotiations resumed on Sunday.

United Steel Workers Union (USW) spokeswoman Lynne Baker said: ‘We have made progress in that there was no strike at midnight.

‘But there are still issues that need to be worked out and notice of a strike could be given at any time if that progress stalls.’

The USW, which is in a strategic alliance with the British union Unite, represents more than 30,000 oil workers in the US.

The union agreed to a rolling 24-hour extension, which allows it to give the required one-day notice to strike.

On Thursday, union negotiators turned down a 2.5 per cent wage increase offer for each of the next three years, in addition to changes in medical coverage.

A strike would affect 60 producers, including the nation’s biggest refiner Valero Energy and BP.

Reposted from the Morning Star