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Nigerian Labor Union Reaches Deal with Government, Ends Strike - 2003-07-08


The main labor union in Nigeria has called off an eight-day strike over a fuel price increase, after reaching a compromise with the government.

The strike was called off after the government agreed to lower the price of fuel.

"The nationwide strike and mass protest is suspended for the above measured reasons," said Adams Oshiomole, the head of the Nigerian Labor Congress, who also informed that the government has also agreed to reduce its price increase for kerosene and diesel.

The strike was called after a government decision to cut fuel subsidies sent the price for a liter of fuel soaring from about 21 cents, to about 31 cents. The price for a liter of fuel has now been set at 27 cents.

The government says the price increase is needed to modernize Africa's biggest oil industry. It also says it will spend savings from the subsidies cut on education and infrastructure projects.

Union leaders say they will continue negotiations to make sure the savings also go toward improvements in mass transit and better wages for oil workers.

Many businesses were closed in major cities during the strike, which was also marked by rowdy demonstrations and alleged police brutality.

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