From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Nigerian strike continues after talks fail
Sunday 15 January 2012
by Our Foreign Desk
Nigerian workers will continue a national strike after the government and unions failed to reach a compromise on scrapped fuel subsidies in talks over the weekend.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) said in a statement that negotiations in Abuja on Saturday had stalled “due to differences on the methodology in finding a solution to the crisis.
“The indefinite strikes, rallies and protests continue nationwide from Monday,” it said.
The two union confederations pledged that “whenever and wherever government invites us for talks, we shall be there without any conditionality.”
And NLC president Abdulwaheed Omar said that oil workers’ union Pengassan “will not shut down oil production, as earlier planned for Sunday.”
Pengassan had threatened to stop production at midnight on Saturday, jeopardising the country’s production of 2.4 million barrels of oil a day, unless the government restored the subsidy.
Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati could not be reached for comment today.
It was unclear whether any additional negotiations between the government and the unions would be held.
The strike began on January 9, eight days after President Goodluck Jonathan’s government scrapped the subsidies. Since then, petrol prices have soared from £1.11 per gallon to at least £2.28 per gallon. The costs of food and transport also doubled in a country where most people manage to survive on less than £1.30 a day.
Anger over the rising cost of living, as well as disgust over government corruption, fuelled mass demonstrations across Nigeria last week.
In some areas, riot police have fired into crowds with live ammunition, killing at least 13 people.
Red Cross volunteers have treated more than 600 people injured in protests since the strike began.
The NLC and the TUC called for a brief hiatus in demonstrations this weekend, allowing Nigerians to leave their homes to stock up on petrol, food and other supplies.
However, the mood remains tense in a country already uneasy over a wave of sectarian attacks by an Islamist sect that have killed at least 67 people since the start of the year.
See also here.