Jan 16 (Reuters) - Unions in Nigeria suspended strikes on Monday to allow further negotiations with the government after President Goodluck Jonathan announced a cut in petrol prices.
Here are some details about the strike and day-by-day developments:
- Nigeria’s fuel regulator removed the fuel subsidy on Jan. 1 as part of efforts to cut government spending. Petrol prices then more than doubled to around 150 naira ($0.93) per litre and protests erupted across the country.
- Around 70 percent of Nigerians live in poverty and view cheap fuel as the only benefit they get from an oil-rich state.
- Economists say the subsidy encouraged corruption and waste and transferred billions of dollars of government cash to a cartel of fuel importers. The government estimated it would save a trillion naira ($6 billion) in 2012 by eliminating the subsidy.
Jan. 8 - Unions launched an indefinite nationwide strike.
- Police shoot dead three people and wound more than 24 while dispersing protesters in the commercial hub Lagos and the largest northern city of Kano.
- Production of Nigeria’s average two million barrels of crude oil a day continues.
Jan. 9 - Tens of thousands of people march as banks, petrol stations and domestic airports close down.
- Unions express anger at the deaths and urge the public to continue the strike until Jonathan restores the subsidy.
Jan. 10 - Thousands take to the streets as the government’s attorney general says striking public sector workers will not be paid, after the strike was ruled unlawful by the courts.
- Offices of international companies such as Shell and Exxon Mobil are shut. But Shell and the state oil company say output is unaffected.
Jan. 11 - Oil workers threaten to shut down oil output. At a rally in Lagos, protesters chant slogans urging the government to go after corrupt leaders, not state welfare.
Jan. 12 - President Goodluck Jonathan and labour unions hold talks to end the dispute. Abdulwaheed Omar, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, says strikes will continue until an agreement has been reached.
- The strikes are costing Nigeria around 100 billion naira ($617 million) a day, central bank governor Lamido Sanusi says.
Jan. 13 - Ships are unable to deliver fuel to Nigeria as strikes force ports to close.
Jan. 14 - Unions and President Jonathan meet but fail to reach a compromise in talks.
Jan. 15 - The main oil union says it will maintain output, not joining the walkouts for the time being. The government says more talks will be held.
-- Jonathan meets union leaders and later says talks “yielded no tangible result” and he will pursue a policy of removing subsidies seen as breeding waste and corruption. The president does approve an investigation into any corruption in the subsidy regime.
Jan. 16 - Trade unions suspend the strikes and protests after the president cuts petrol prices back to 97 naira ($0.60) a litre from around 150 naira. (Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; Editing by Mark Heinrich)