Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users take on 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight ALS

Read more

ENCORE!

From Paris's Liberation to 'arresting' art in Avignon

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Ferguson riots: Pressure mounts on Obama

Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Reporter’s IS captors taunted family, asked for €100m ransom

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Turkey’s Erdogan names foreign minister Davutoglu as next PM

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    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)