Nigeria’s major workers unions have announced the suspension of their planned nationwide strike which was called for Wednesday.
The unions were expected to stay away from work to protest the sharp increase in the price of fuel after the country’s newly sworn-in president, Bola Tinubu decided to scrap subsidising fuel products.
Mr. Tinubu said the government can no longer afford to subsidise fuel because of dwindling revenue.
A court had ordered the unions to avoid the industrial action until an application filed by the government is heard on 19 June.
But after several hours of meeting government officials, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) leaders decided to suspend the strike to make room for further negotiations.
President Tinubu said he was going to scrap the fuel subsidy but did not give a date. However shortly after his pronouncements, there was a major fuel crisis.
Hundreds of people had poured on to the streets to grab what they believed to be the last drops of fuel to be sold at a government-fixed price.
The government has already set aside $7bn to subsidise fuel for the first six months of this year.
An increase in the minimum wage and tax holidays for workers are some of the demands the organised labour is also making to cushion the effects of the removal of the fuel subsidy.
The minimum wage is about $65 in Nigeria and sharp increase in cost of living would impact negatively on the poor.
Fuel marketers have already increased the price of petrol to at least $1 per litre – up by about 200%.
Nigeria is rich in oil but it is unable to refine crude locally to meet demands and constantly had to import petroleum products.