Bloomberg News

Nigerian Unions Push Wage Strike That May Curb Oil Exports

July 19, 2011

(Updates with oil unions joining strike in fourth paragraph.)

July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria’s two main labor federations will go ahead with a planned three-day strike tomorrow that may threaten oil exports after talks with the government on payment of the minimum wage broke down, union officials said.

“The federal government has refused to pay the minimum wage across the board for all levels of workers,” Owei Lakemfa, secretary-general of the Nigerian Labour Congress, the country’s largest union federation, said by phone today from Abuja, the capital. “So the strike is going on.”

The Trade Union Congress, which represents managerial workers, is joining the strike in support of demands for the payment of the monthly 18,000 naira ($118) minimum wage that President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law in March, its leader, Peter Esele, said today on state-owned Radio Nigeria.

Oil exports from Africa’s top producer may be disrupted by the decision of Nigeria’s two oil unions, Nupeng and Pengassan, affiliates of the federations, to join the strike. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Total SA and Eni SpA run joint ventures with the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. that pump most of the country’s crude.

Unions are prepared to call an indefinite strike if the new wage structure is not implemented after this week’s warning action, Lakemfa said.

--Editors: Karl Maier, Antony Sguazzin

To contact the reporter on this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.


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