Daily Times: Nigerian oil strike ends, another begins Monday: “…world’s seventh largest crude exporter faces a much more damaging strike from Monday, unionists and analysts said.” (ShellNews.net)
10 Oct 04
LAGOS: A two-day walkout by Nigerian oil workers ended on Friday without disrupting supplies, but the world’s seventh largest crude exporter faces a much more damaging strike from Monday, unionists and analysts said.
Unlike the two-day warning strike over job lay-offs at Royal Dutch Shell Group terminals, Monday’s general strike over rising fuel prices across Nigeria could have a big impact on the country’s 2.3 million barrels per day of output as oil unions have promised a total strike.
“A strike of this nature would have a huge impact on the oil industry ... If the oil unions join, production and loadings could be disrupted,” said Emmanuel Etaderihi of Lagos-based Financial Derivatives Company.
National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers’ president Peter Akpatason said the Shell strike, which is unrelated to the general strike, ended on Friday as originally planned, following a promise by Shell management to discuss labour issues with oil unions on Friday next week.
“The strike was called off earlier today and we will be meeting Shell next week ahead of any final decisions,” Akpatason told Reuters. Shell said the strike, had not affected exports or production of oil and gas.
In a last-ditch attempt to avert Monday’s strike, union leaders held talks with Nigeria’s 36 state governors and lawmakers on Friday but no deal was reached and a union leader said the strike would go ahead.
“The executive was not ready for dialogue. Therefore, the strike will go on for Monday as planned,” Adams Oshiomhole, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), told reporters after the talks. Oshiomhole said the strike would last until midnight on next Thursday after which there would be a two week period for negotiation before a possible resumption.
“The first phase should be seen as a warning strike,” he said.
Lawmakers have proposed a reduction in fuel prices, but analysts said the government was unlikely to accept the proposal or to rescind the increases, which are key to its economic reform program. —Reuters