Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) met yesterday with union leaders representing New York Post employees and said later he would not object if Congress gave publisher Rupert Murdoch more time to sell the newspaper.

Legislation added to a spending bill at Kennedy's request would bar an extension of waivers that have allowed Murdoch to keep newspapers and television stations in New York and Boston. Without an extension, Murdoch must sell either the Post or WNYW-TV in New York by March 6, and either the Boston Herald or WFXT-TV in Boston by June 30.

Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.), who added the amendment to the bill, said, however, he would oppose giving Murdoch more time and would vote against such a measure if it came up in Congress.

Murdoch has said that if he can't sell the Post for a fair price, he will close it.

"The issue is whether Mr. Murdoch is a serious seller," Kennedy said after meeting with union heads representing the Post's 1,200 employees. "If Mr. Murdoch is acting in good faith and needs a little more time beyond March 6 to complete the sale of the Post, I would have no objection to Congress giving it to him."

Kennedy said, however, his position that Murdoch should not be allowed to own both newspaper and television properties in the same city was unchanged.

In a statement last night, Murdoch said, "Sen. Kennedy's statement offers little hope for anyone. News America {the parent corporation} has been looking for buyers for many weeks and in good faith. The New York Post has been losing as much $17 million in a year, and those extraordinary losses pose great difficulty in finding buyers.

"We have played by the rules at all times," he said. "We want to keep the Post open today and in the future and save jobs and preserve diverse opinions."