Nigerian Unions Suspend Strike Over Fuel Subsidy Removal

Organised labour has suspended its proposed strike action after just 24 hours of nationwide protests against the removal of fuel subsidies. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said the marches across major Nigerian cities were successful enough to force President Bola Tinubu to meet union leaders and make a number of promises, including expediting an agreement on a new minimum wage.

Tinubu's spokesman, Dele Alake, said labour movement leaders had agreed to suspend their strike while talks continued. The president also promised that a major oil refinery under refurbishment in southern Nigeria would start processing fuel by December 2023. This would likely result in a reduction in petrol prices.

The removal of fuel subsidies was a major economic reform implemented by President Tinubu since he was sworn into office on May 29, 2023. The subsidy, which cost U.S.$10 billion last year, was popular with many Nigerians but was seen as unsustainable by the government. The price of a liter of petrol in Nigeria fluctuates frequently, but as of August 3, 2023, it is N617 per liter. This is the official price set by the government, but it is often higher at the pump.

The minimum wage was set by the National Minimum Wage Act of 2019 and is currently at U.S.$38,50. It is reviewed every two years, and the next review is scheduled for this year. It is the lowest remuneration employers can legally pay their employees per hour.


Labour union protest at the National Assembly.

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