Sunday, May 22, 2016 8:08 pm
The Nigeria Labour Congress has suspended the industrial action which began on Wednesday, its president, Ayuba Wabba said on Sunday.
The protest and strike declared were ignited by the hefty increase in the pump price of petrol, with the government arguing that the removal of fuel subsidy will help alleviate fuel shortages and end the regime of fraudulent claims associated with it.
Despite a court order, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) decided to go ahead with the indefinite strike, but the Trade Union Congress pulled out of it. The two oil workers unions, PENGASSAN and NUPENG had earlier said they would not be part of any strike.
Ayuba Wabba, the NLC’s president, told journalists in the capital, Abuja, that the union had “resolved to suspend with immediate effect the action”.
“Congress will resume negotiations with government on the twin issues of the hike in electricity tariff and an increase in the pump price of petroleum products,” he said, adding that the union “remains committed to genuine dialogue”.
The NLC’s action have had little impact nationwide.
A wave of strikes the last time Nigeria tried to cut fuel subsidies, in 2012, ensured that authorities eventually reinstated some of the subsidies.
A fall in oil prices has eaten into the foreign reserves of Nigeria, which relies on crude sales for around 70 percent of national income. The central bank has adopted a fixed exchange rate in an attempt to prevent further depletion of its reserves.
Last week, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said President Muhammadu Buhari had been “left with no choice” but to raise petrol prices.
Despite being a major oil producer, Nigeria has to import nearly all of its fuel as its refineries are largely out of action after years of neglect and mismanagement.