Nigerian Oil Workers Begin Warning Strike
Peaceful demonstrations were held at the NNPC headquarters and the National Assembly to protest the privatization of Nigeria's state-run National Petroleum Corporation. Workers are also demanding the oil and gas industry regulator, the Department of Petroleum Resources, be separated from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and given more autonomy.
The strike has forced the headquarters of the state-run petroleum company and filling stations in the administrative capital, Abuja and the commercial hub, Lagos, to shut down. The national president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the nation's central labor movement, Adams Oshiomhole, and top officials of PENGASSAN and NUPENG addressed the rallies. "I can assure you that as from Monday there will be no lifting (export) of crude oil at the terminals," said Shina Luwoye, the president of Nigeria's most powerful union for the sector, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria or PENGASSAN. Union officials said the country's seven main export terminals, which account for most of the output in the world's sixth largest oil producer, will be affected by the strike. The effectiveness of the action will depend on whether unions at the different installations follow the strike call. Often local agreements are reached at oil installations to work in spite of strike calls. A union official at one of the two refineries in Port Harcourt said workers at his plant will not be participating in the strike.