Union Leaders Call Off Nigeria's Oil Strike

LAGOS Sep 14, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Nigeria's oil workers' unions said Thursday they had called off a strike that started Wednesday, with immediate effect.

Peter Esele, president of the white collar Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, or Pengassan, said the decision to end a planned three-day strike in its second day was made following appeals by the country's government.

"After an intense pressure and appeal from the government, the unions have agreed to call off the three-day strike unconditionally," Esele said.

The unions proposed a committee be chaired by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo or his representative to hear the grievances of the workers, who have concerns about security at installations in the oil-rich coastal Delta.

Esele said the unions had agreed to give government a chance to tackle the issues in contention.

"We have weighed government's requests and have agreed to call off the strike and embrace dialogue, and hereby direct all oil workers to resume work immediately as from tomorrow," he said.

The unions went on strike to protest the lack of security in the Niger Delta after attacks by militant groups on oil facilities led to the death of two workers and the kidnappings of scores of others.

The strike cut domestic supplies of refined petroleum products after the unions told workers at fuel depots and road tanker drivers to stay at home.

Nigerian Oil Minister Edmund Daukoru said earlier this week that attacks by militants and pipeline leaks have cut Nigeria's crude oil production by about 872,000 barrels a day - a number far higher than some estimates, which peg the lost production at around 600,000 b/d.

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