Market News

Nigeria oil workers to join national strike starting Tuesday - ZAWYA

SEPTEMBER 29, 2023

Two other unions called for the indefinite nationwide strike from Oct 3 in Africa's No. 1 oil producer

Oil workers in Nigeria will join an indefinite nationwide strike from Tuesday to protest against the rising cost of living, threatening to disrupt output in Africa's No. 1 oil producer.

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers said it has directed its members to cease all operations from October 3 in solidarity with the indefinite strike called by the country's two biggest unions - the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria.

The strike has been triggered by anger against soaring prices of fuel and food in Africa's biggest economy and most populous country after the removal of a fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu after his inauguration in late May.

Tinubu also lifted foreign exchange controls causing the naira to depreciate sharply against the dollar. Both actions have sent inflation to an 18-year high, reduced fuel consumption. 

Oil remains Nigeria's biggest foreign exchange earner, but large scale oil theft has over the years cost the country billions of dollars. Oil output in Nigeria stood at 1.18mln bpd in August 2023, according to OPEC.

Leaders of the oil workers union said in a statement that the government’s “gross insensitivity” to the plight of workers was unacceptable and called on its members to join the nationwide industrial action.

They described Tinubu’s reforms as “very harsh and sudden economic policies.”

The leaders said they were aware of the huge impact a 24-hour industrial action can have on businesses, but the government's actions had forced them "to take this very hard and painful route of last resort" to demand changes.

Tinubu has said the government could no longer afford the fuel subsidy. The government spent $10 billion on the subsidies in 2022, resulting in growing budget deficits and rising public debt.

The president has also said floating the naira would allow investment to flow freely in and out of the country. 

( Editing by Seban Scaria [email protected] )


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