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Nigerian Unions Suspend Strike - 2004-06-11


Nigerian unions have suspended a three-day strike over rising fuel prices, saying the government has complied with a court order to force down the prices of gasoline.

The president of the largest trade union, the Nigeria Labor Congress, Adams Oshiomole, said the government has largely complied with the court order and the union was suspending its industrial action.

He spoke after a meeting of union leaders in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos.

General secretary of the NLC, Linus Ukamba, emphasized the strike was being suspended only for the weekend.

"Yes the strike has been suspended. There is compliance in many areas, many states. There have been reports, we have received, where they have changed the rates," he said. "But the strike also affected the ability of some independent marketers. So, this weekend is meant for them to actually comply and we believe in the government and its agencies that they are going to ensure this compliance. On Monday, there is a committee that will review it, and let us know that the compliance is going on or that there is a failure to comply."

The unions say they are being cautious, because, earlier this year, the government failed to comply with a court order to force gasoline distributors to hold down prices.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil exporting country, but has limited refining capacity and relies on imports for much of its gasoline consumption.

The general strike, which began Wednesday, shut down schools, businesses and much of the civil services. The N.L.C. says it reserves the right to take up the strike again, if gasoline prices are not maintained.

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