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Nigeria unions suspend strike for one week

Joe Ajaero, centre, Nigerian Labor Congress President, speaks during a protest against the recent increase in the electricity tariff, in Abuja Nigeria. 14/05/2024   -  
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Sunday Alamba/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved


Nigeria's main labour unions have suspended a strike which led to the shutdown of the country's power grid and the closure of its busiest airports on Monday.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) said on Tuesday they were suspending the strike for one week in order to continue talks with the government over a new minimum wage.

The unions warned that failure on the part of the government to offer an acceptable new minimum wage will "prompt the organised labour to resume the strike without further notice."

The unions had demanded a 16-fold rise in the minimum wage from 30,000 naira to 494,000. The government had proposed doubling the current wage to 60,000 but now says it is open to raising this, although no new amount has yet been announced.

The stand-off comes amidst the country's worst economic crisis in a generation, after government reforms fuelled inflation, and aggravated a cost-of-living crisis.

President Bola Tinubu, who took office in 2023, removed a fuel subsidy to reduce pressure on government expenditure and, last month put in place an electricity tariff, prompting backlash from unions.

The latest strike is the fourth since Tinubu took office.

Government and union representatives will now hold daily negotiations over the next week in the hopes of agreeing on a new minimum wage.

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