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Labor union strike in Nigeria gains momentum with the addition of oil workers


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The two largest labor union federations in Nigeria called for an indefinite strike, and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) instructed its members to "unwaveringly comply" with that request.

The decision by NUPENG to join the strike marks a significant escalation in the unions' conflict with the government. NUPENG represents a wide range of employees throughout the whole value chain in the oil and gas industries, including upstream oil platform workers, gasoline tanker drivers, and pump attendants.

Williams Akporeha, president of NUPENG, said that the government's actions had left Nigerians suffering from "excruciating and debilitating socio-economic pains" for Nigerians without any accompanying measures to cushion "the immediate effects and impacts."

President Bola Tinubu has been under pressure to change his mind about eliminating a well-liked gasoline subsidy that has kept fuel prices low but was expensive for the government's coffers. However, the presidency announced in the first two months after the removal of subsidies that the government had saved more than 1 trillion naira ($1.32 billion), denoting a return of anywhere from N400 to 500 billion in savings per month.

Additionally, investors and financial lenders across the globe, including the World Bank, have lauded the idea of fuel subsidy removal, noting that it is a step in the right direction, and would make the country’s finances more sustainable, as it would save the country a sizable amount monthly.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer, relying on the commodity for over 90% of its foreign exchange revenues and approximately half of its budget.