See also:
» 08.12.2009 - Union strike could leave fuel stations empty
» 13.07.2009 - Doctors threaten strike on Wednesday
» 22.04.2009 - Nigerian tankers suspend strike
» 21.04.2009 - Nigeria govt re-assures nation as fuel shortages hit
» 25.03.2009 - Nigerian oil workers suspend strike
» 03.03.2009 - Oil workers issue a 21 day ultimatum
» 09.02.2009 - Nigeria oil workers delay strike
» 06.01.2009 - Doctors strike in Lagos leaves patients stranded

China wholesale online through

Houlihan's coupons

Finn autentiske matoppskrifter fra hele verden på
Gazpacho Børek Kartoffelsalat Taboulé Gulasj Albóndigas Cevapi Rougaille Japrak sarma Zwiebelbrot Klopse Giouvetsi Paella Pljeskavica Pica pau Pulpo a la gallega Flammkuchen Langosj Tapenade Chatsjapuri Pasulj Lassi Kartoffelpuffer Tortilla Raznjici Knödel Lentejas Bœuf bourguignon Korianderchutney Brenneslesuppe Proia Sæbsi kavurma Sardinske calamares

Autentiske matoppskrifter fra hele verden finner du på
Réunion Portugal Aserbajdsjan Serbia Tyskland Seychellene Bosnia Spania Libanon Belgia India Kroatia Hellas Italia Ungarn Komorene Georgia Mauritius Østerrike Romania Frankrike

Labour | Politics | Economy - Development

Nigeria unions call off strike after govt offer

Misanet / IRIN, 16 November - Nigeria's powerful trade unions yesterday called off a general strike planned for the next day after the government, in an eleventh-hour move, offered an almost 10 percent cut in the price of domestic fuels. Unions had planned a resumption of a nation-wide strike today, protesting a price hike in petroleum products.

- The government has reduced the price of petrol, John Odah, Secretary-General of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), told IRIN by phone from Abuja. "We therefore decided to suspend the strike."

Senator Ibrahim Mantu announced the cuts in the prices of kerosene, gasoline and diesel, "in the name of domestic peace," as the trade unions were preparing to issue President Olusegun Obasanjo their strongest challenge to date.

NLC leader Odah said the trade union would now rejoin the panel headed by Senator Mantu that was set up to address demands for lower prices following a wave of protests over a 23-percent increase for domestic fuels ordered by the government in September.

The blue-collar NLC had called an unlimited strike from Tuesday on the grounds that the hikes are hurting a majority of the 126 million people of Africa's biggest oil exporter. In a four-day warning strike last month, trade union protesters shut down banks, business, shops and public services in the country's economic capital. This time they had threatened to target crude oil production and exports in the world's seventh largest producer.

At the heart of the protest was NLC leader Adams Oshiomhole, a charismatic, outspoken trade unionist increasingly perceived as President Obasanjo's most vocal opponent. His drive to bring down prices for the 70 percent of people who live on less than one US dollar a day in oil-rich Nigeria has won the support of the white-collar Trade Union Congress as well as a coalition of civic groups.

- We must go beyond the issue of price to include problems, including the growing state of hopelessness and the political regime that has made dialogue completely impossible, Mr Oshiomhole told reporters last month.

The trade union leader entertained cordial relations with President Obasanjo after the latter took office in 1999, and endorsed his candidacy for re-election in 2003. But relations grew frosty as the government decided to cut fuel price subsidies in attempts to deregulate the oil industry. In President Obasanjo's five years in office, the NLC has called six general strikes, each time in response to increases in fuel prices.

President Obasanjo says fuel subsidies of over US$2 billion a year are draining funds that could be spent on health and education, and that artificially low fuel prices have a negative impact on Nigeria’s refineries, which need private investment.

Mr Oshiomhole however believes the knock-on effect of fuel price increases are just added punishment for Nigeria's poor. "We have to get over the vicious circle of every time the price of crude goes up, petrol prices increase," Mr Odah told IRIN. "We need a lasting solution. That is why we are returning on the panel."

The Nigerian government set up the panel of officials, parliamentarians and trade union representatives following the four-day October stoppage. But President Obasanjo rejected its call for price reductions, saying increases were the logical result of the government's market reforms and were irreversible.

Mr Oshiomhole and other critics of President Obasanjo say he is not listening to the people and that the battle to reverse September's 23 percent hikes are part of the struggle to safeguard democracy. "In a democracy the government should govern according to the aspirations of the citizens, not the selfish interests of the leadership," he told IRIN. "The fact that more than 100 million Nigerians participated in the last strike should have been enough for the government to do what the citizens expect of it," he added.

Mr Oshiomhole's working career began as a factory hand in a textile firm in the northern city of Kaduna after finishing secondary school. At the time, he recalled, supervisors punished even slight errors by days of work without pay. Trade unions were unable to help. "We had absolutely no rights," he said.

After joining a trade union, he went to study at Ruskin College, Oxford, and on his return in 1979, became a full-time unionist with the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria. Three years later he became its Secreatry-General.

His first public brush with the market reform policies of the IMF and World Bank was in 1985 as NLC Deputy President, during the reign of Nigerian military ruler General Ibrahim Babangida. In television debates he sharply criticised the policies, especially a plan to end subsidies.

Under successive military governments, both Mr Oshiombole and the NLC faced repeated bans and harassment. But in 1998, General Abdulsalami Abubakar repealed the last such ban, paving the way for Mr Oshiomhole to become NLC leader a year later.

So while President Obasanjo, whose 1999 election ended more than 15 years of unbroken military rule, sees the NLC as strictly concerned with union issues such as wages and labour disputes, Mr Oshiomhole believes it should take on the battle to improve the social and political condition of the Nigerian worker.

Following the NLC protests, President Obasanjo has sent a bill to parliament to "deregister" it. But a wide range of groups back the labour umbrella: at a recent pro-strike rally in Nigeria's biggest city, Lagos, members of the Hare Krishna sect mingled with representatives of the Justice and Peace Development Commission of the Catholic church, human rights groups, the motorcycle taxi riders' association and militants from the Niger Delta.

Mr Oshiomhole rode into the venue in an open-roofed jeep, acknowledging cheers from thousands of people who lined the streets in support. "Oshiomhole is the only one fighting for the common people," said Binta Amusa, a street trader. "He should really be our President."

- Create an e-mail alert for Nigeria news
- Create an e-mail alert for Labour news
- Create an e-mail alert for Politics news
- Create an e-mail alert for Economy - Development news

    Printable version

On the Afrol News front page now

Rwanda succeeds including citizens in formal financial sector

afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.

Famine warning: "South Sudan is imploding"

afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
Panic in West Africa after Ebola outbreak in Guinea

afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
Ethiopia tightens its already strict anti-gay laws

afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
Ethiopia plans Africa's biggest dam

afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.

front page | news | countries | archive | currencies | news alerts login | about afrol News | contact | advertise | español 

©  afrol News. Reproducing or buying afrol News' articles.

   You can contact us at