Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

  • Deadly strike hits Gaza market despite four-hour 'truce'

    Read more

  • Fourth female suicide bomber targets Nigerian city

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

Africa

Talks to avert Nigerian fuel strike hit deadlock

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-15

Talks between unions and the Nigerian president aimed at ending the long-running dispute over fuel subsidies failed to reach an agreement, it was announced on Sunday. Union leaders have threatened to shut down the country's oil output.

REUTERS - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and labour unions failed to reach a compromise over government-subsidised fuel prices, but the unions said oil workers would not shut down crude output while the two sides kept talking.

“The meeting is not deadlocked but we have not reached a compromise,” Nigeria Labour Congress President Abdulwaheed Omar told reporters after a meeting at the presidential villa went on until late on Saturday night.
 
“We will meet and return to talk with the government. Our position is that they should suspend the increase in the pump prices and then we will suspend the strike and start negotiations.”
 
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets and staged strikes for five successive days last week in protest against the removal of a fuel subsidy on Jan. 1 that raised the price of petrol at the pump to 150 naira ($0.93) per litre from 65 naira.
 
Workers in Nigeria’s 2 million barrel-per-day oil industry - it accounts for 8 percent of U.S. oil imports and is also a key source for Europe and Asia - had threatened to halt production by Sunday.
 
“PENGASSEN (the oil workers union) will not shut down oil production as earlier planned for Sunday,” said Omar.
 
But the union itself said in a statement that it would shut down production immediately if talks broke down.
 
“All PENGASSAN branches and members at all the production platforms ... (will) execute immediately the systematic shut-down of oil production should the negotiation with the government break down,” it said. 
 
Industry officials doubt unions can stop crude oil exports completely because production is largely automated and Nigeria has crude stored in reserves, but even a minor outage could have a significant impact on the economy.
 
Even if oil output stayed in place, the strikes were costing Africa’s second-biggest economy around $600 million a day, Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi told Reuters on Thursday.
 
It was not clear when talks would resume but it seems unlikely a deal can be reached before strikes are due to restart on Monday.
 
“We are going to continue our deliberation at our organisation level and then maybe we will see the way forward,” said Omar.
 
Unions suspended strike action for the weekend because of Saturday’s talks.
 
Crude oil exports account for more than 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and 80 percent of government revenues.
 
 
 
 
No compromise
 
Omar said the unions were still insisting on having the subsidy put back fully, which the government is unlikely to agree to, at least without a concession allowing it to phase it in later.
 
“Let’s go back to 65 naira then we agree on a new line of action,” he said. Asked if the unions were still absolutely insisting on that, he said: “For now, yes.”
 
Tankers have been unable to deliver supplies to Nigeria, which despite its oil riches, imports most of its refined petroleum products.
 
On Saturday, motorists formed a long queue at one filling station near central Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, in a search for fuel that after a week of strikes was not readily available even at the new higher price.
 
Nearby a young man peddled black market petrol, using a hose spouting out of a jerrycan. « I have fuel for 350 naira a litre if you want, » he said.
 
Eurasia Group’s Philippe de Pontet in a research note late on Friday suggested a combination of union intransigence and Jonathan’s banking on workers tiring of the strike could mean no deal was reached by Monday.
 
The confrontation is a serious setback for Jonathan, already under fire for failing to quell an increasingly violent Islamist insurgency in the north. 
 
 

 

Date created : 2012-01-15

  • NIGERIA

    Fuel strike to be suspended as talks continue

    Read more

  • NIGERIA

    Strikes in Nigeria to continue despite 'fruitful' oil talks

    Read more

  • NIGERIA

    Nigerian unions meet with president amid fuel strikes

    Read more

COMMENT(S)