BBC NEWS: Nigeria strike call targets Shell: “Adams Oshiomhole, leader of the NLC, told the BBC that this time the strike would be indefinite and total, and would affect both the production and export of crude oil. “Shell has decided to side with the government to oppress our people and to mix themselves into Nigerian internal politics”. (ShellNews.net)
1 Nov 04
Nigeria's main trade union body has said it is planning a second general strike to protest at fuel price rises, warning it would target oil production. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said the strike would start on 16 November.
NLC leaders branded Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell an "enemy of the Nigerian people", and called for action against the company.
News of the planned stoppage pushed up the price of crude oil in Asian trade on Monday to more than $52 a barrel.
Shell accounts for about half of Nigeria's daily exports of 2.5 million barrels. The firm is not the source of the price rises, which stem from the Nigerian government's cuts to fuel subsidies.
The price of US light, sweet crude oil, used by the oil industry as a benchmark, rose more than 50 cents on Monday, topping $52.25, but was trading at $51.95 by 0615 GMT.
Adams Oshiomhole, leader of the NLC, told the BBC that this time the strike would be indefinite and total, and would affect both the production and export of crude oil.
“Shell has decided to side with the government to oppress our people and to mix themselves into Nigerian internal politics”. He accused Shell of taking legal action to prevent a white-collar oil union from joining the strike.
Shell officials were unavailable for comment.
The NLC also dismissed measures introduced by the government to help alleviate the impact of the increased fuel costs.
A spokesman for the NLC said the government's actions fell well short of its call for a drop in petrol prices.
Any block to Nigerian oil exports may inflate already high global prices.
The NLC's last general strike over the fuel price rises ran from 11 October to 14 October, shutting down banks, businesses, shops and public services, but did not hit oil exports.
Nigeria is the world's seventh biggest oil producer, and America's fifth most important supplier, making the country's ongoing labour unrest a cause for concern in the oil sector.
The government "is showing pointed ingratitude to the men and women who have... toiled not just to relieve the pains in the land, but also to reduce the high tension in the country," the NLC said in a statement.
On Friday the Nigerian government introduced a number of grants and tax reductions to help offset the recent 23% rise in fuel prices.
But the measures did not include the NLC's key demand for the lowering of prices at the pump.
Global oil prices have increased by 60% since the start of 2004 due to both supply and demand pressures.
While demand has expanded strongly, led by China's economic boom and continuing high consumption in the US, supplies have been hit by the situation in Iraq.