LAGOS, March 10 (Reuters) – A strike at Nigeria's state oil producer has been suspended after talks between trade unions and the company's head, who is also the minister of state for petroleum, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC) and union leaders said on Thursday.
The strike began on Wednesday in reaction to an announcement a day earlier that the West African country's president had approved splitting NNPC into upstream, downstream, gas power marketing, refinery groups, and ventures divisions.
President Muhammadu Buhari has prioritised reforming the oil sector in Africa's biggest crude-producing country in an effort to rid it of the corruption and mismanagement that have stunted development in what is also the continent's biggest economy.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) said 7,000 of its members, including refinery workers and maintenance staff, had walked out due to what it called a lack of consultation and were joined by Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) members.
Following exhaustive deliberations, "the corporate-wide strike has been suspended", a tweet on NNPC's Twitter account said.
"The Group Executive Councils of PENGASSAN and NUPENG (have) resolved to support the restructuring and change process," it added in a second message.
PENGASSAN's acting general secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, confirmed the strike had been suspended. He said the decision was taken after 10 hours of talks, ending at 0300 GMT between minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, NNPC executives and union officials.
"Management agreed that there would be further collaboration ... with a view to considering any suggested amendments. Our input would be taken into consideration," he told Reuters.
(Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Susan Thomas and Dale Hudson)
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