Nigeria: nationwide strike suspended after talks between labour unions and president
Nigerian workers have suspended nationwide protests against a fuel subsidy removal and the rising cost of living following a meeting between union leaders with President Bola Tinubu.
Hundreds of workers across all sectors went on strike on Wednesday (2 August) in compliance with the directives of Nigeria’s two main unions. Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu met union leaders Thursday (3 August) on the first day of a nationwide strike called by unions to protest against a fuel subsidy removal that has led to higher pump price of petrol, the head of the main labour federation has said. Following the talks, the presidency said Thursday’s strike had been suspended, adding that the union leaders had “opted for further constructive engagement with the government to resolve all outstanding issues as they affect the working people and Nigerians in general.” Union leaders have confirmed the suspension of the strike.
Tinubu ended a fuel subsidy scheme — pushing up prices of food, transportation and other services — in late May, during his inauguration as the new leader of Africa’s most populous nation. Hundreds of protestors marched Wednesday through the capital Abuja in show of defiance to denounce low wages, lack of social amenities and adequate welfare as well as mass poverty. The protesters were accompanied by armed police and soldiers. The oil-rich country imports the bulk of its petroleum products due to problems at four domestic oil refineries. Under the now-dropped subsidy scheme, the government covered the difference between the cost of import and prices at the pump. The immediate impact of Tinubu’s policies — a combination of higher fuel prices and a devalued Naira — has been hyperinflation and a worsening of the dire economic straits that have been the lot of the average citizen in recent years.