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Nigeria’s unions suspend wage strike

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Nigeria’s two largest unions- the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria(TUC) have indefinitely suspended a planned nationwide strike,  scheduled to begin on October 3, following last-minute talks with the government.

The two sides made some concessions to prevent the strike that would have disrupted business in Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer.

“The NLC and TUC accept to suspend for 30 days the planned Indefinite Nationwide strike scheduled to begin, Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023,” leaders of the two unions and government representatives said in a joint statement.

The calls for the strike, which a third union representing oil workers had pledged to join, were triggered by the removal of a fuel subsidy by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, that has sent fuel prices soaring.

Although the subsidy is set to remain in place, the two sides reached consensus on some measures, including the government agreeing to suspend collection of value added tax (VAT) on diesel for six months from October, 2023.

The two sides also agreed that a minimum wage committee would be set up within one month, and the government agreed to provide temporary wage raises pending the outcome of the committee’s deliberations.

Tinubu’s decision to abolish petrol subsidies followed his inauguration in late May. Since then, Africa’s most populous country’s has seen inflation rise to an 18-year high.

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