Nigeria’s labor unions plan strike over electricity, petrol price hikes

The Nigerian Labour Congress, which represents millions of workers across most sectors of Africa’s biggest economy, will begin an indefinite strike from Monday to protest an increase in power and petrol prices.

Nigeria cut costly subsidies this month to allow the petrol price to move with the market and hiked the power tariff. President Muhammadu Buhari has said the increases were crucial because the country could no longer afford the subsidies.

The country has been under pressure for reforms from international lenders such as the World Bank to qualify for budget support loans after the novel coronavirus triggered an oil price crash that slashed the government’s income.

Cheap fuel prices have long been seen by many in Nigeria as a benefit of living in an oil-producing country. Previous attempts to eliminate subsidies were scuppered after riots ensued.

Union leader Ayuba Wabba says a strike can be avoided if the government reverses the petrol and power price hikes.

The government has yet to respond to the strike plans.