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Talks Held in Danish Strike

April 29, 1998

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ In the first sign of movement in a crippling three-day strike, officials of the national employers’ confederation held talks Wednesday with labor representatives.

The meeting was the first since 550,000 workers walked off the job after unions turned down a compromise contract. The main issue was a workers’ demand for a sixth week of paid vacation.

Wednesday’s meeting was seen as a possible prelude to renewed negotiations. ``We are in a initial phase,″ said employer representative Joern Neergaard Larsen.

The strike has shut down airports and most public transport agencies. It has also forced hospitals to limit service to emergency cases and the post office to deliveries in rural areas.

Officials said Copenhagen residents have begun hoarding food and medicines as supplies dwindle on store shelves.

Copenhagen’s gasoline supply was also running low.

The government has refused to intervene. The effects of a long strike could expand into Europe, not only because of a slowdown in Danish exports but because Denmark is the main surface transit link between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe.

Swedish automaker Saab said it would have to stop production at two facilities on Thursday because the strike had halted the flow of parts from Danish suppliers. Volvo, also of Sweden, said it would have to cut production next week if the parts supply is not restored.

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