Nigerian unions end general strike after Government makes concessions
The national trade union centres of Nigeria (NLC and NTUC) have ended their general strike over the unilateral removal of the government oil subsidy after eight days of consistent popular support led to direct talks with the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan. Those talks on Sunday night produced movement that the unions felt represented satisfactory progress.
The Government has reinstated part of the subsidy so that a litre of petrol will be reduced from the N141 price (57p) imposed on 1 January to N97 (39p). This is more than the original N65 (26p) price per litre, and the unions made clear it was still a unilateral decision rather than an agreement between unions and Government. But together with pledges to act against corruption in the oil sector, and reduce the governance costs of the energy sector, the unions decided that further protests could endanger their supporters, and that enough had been secured. Nigeria has a history of military coups, and there were worrying signs that the dispute could lead to even more loss of life.
The dispute has also reaffirmed the strength of the trade union movement in Nigeria, and seriously weakened the President’s authority. As the Presidents of the NLC and NTUC, Abdulwahed Omar and Peter Esele, said in a joint statement:
“With the experiences of the past eight days, we are sure that no government or institution will take Nigerians for granted again.”
The TUC has sent a message of congratulations and solidarity to Nigerian unions.