OSLO, May 12 -- A possible strike at Norsk Hydro's (NHY.OL: Quote) four smelters in Norway that could start early on Wednesday would have "no immediate effect" on production, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.
"There would be no immediate effect," said company spokesman Halvor Molland. "You cannot `switch off' an aluminium plant. You need to do a controlled downscale. It is a matter of weeks or months."
Wage negotiation talks between Norwegian unions and employers in the energy sector are taking place on Tuesday and must reach an agreement by 2200 GMT.
If they do not, an unlimited strike would start at 0400 GMT on Wednesday, targeting in particular the aluminium industry.
It is not yet clear how many of Hydro's 1,650 workers would down tool if a strike went ahead, the spokesman said.
"The normal way is that you take out a few workers and you increase their numbers over time," the spokesman said.
Hydro operates four smelters in the Nordic country, at Aardal, Karmoey, Hoeyanger and Sunndal.
A spokesman for the union taking part in the talks declined to comment on the negotiations' progress.