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Nigeria Oil Union Suspends Three-Day Nationwide Strike after Talks

Source: Reuters 1/11/2017, Location: Africa

A Nigerian oil labor union has suspended a nationwide three-day strike over job losses that hit petrol stations and oil tankers, following talks with the government on Wednesday. The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) is one of several labor unions that have criticized oil companies for sacking workers in the last few months.

Nigeria has been hit hard by a slump in crude oil prices in the past two years, which helped to push the country into recession. A wave of militant attacks in the southern Niger Delta oil hub throughout 2016 has hampered production. The decision to call off the industrial action followed talks with Nigeria's labor minister in the capital, Abuja.

"All issues have been addressed one after the other. We are very satisfied with the commitment shown," said NUPENG President Igwe Achese. "We have decided to suspend the three day strike that commenced today and also asked our members... to do all that is necessary to keep the industry flowing," he added.

On the issue of severance packages and benefits, Labour Minister Chris Ngige said workers will be entitled to all their entitlements, salaries and allowances. He did not elaborate. The minister said the talks had led to "very fruitful conclusions" and there would be another meeting on Jan. 24. The strike was the latest in a number of walk-outs orchestrated by NUPENG.

Earlier on Wednesday, the union said workers had gone on strike in a separate walkout at seven crude oil flow stations in and around Oleh, a town in Delta state, which is in the Niger Delta. Tokunbo Korodo, a senior NUPENG official, said the strike suspension included these stations.

Last week, the labor union held a strike at Total's fuel depots in a protest over sackings, but it was suspended after one day once an agreement was reached. No details have emerged about that deal.

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