Nigerian unions have called off their national strike after a turbulent week. The Nigerian government have been forced into a partial climbdown, and have reinstated 60% of the fuel subsidies that they scrapped at the start of the year.
On Friday, the unions gave the government an ultimatum. Either reinstate the subsidies by Monday, or oil workers would go on strike. Nigeria relies on oil for over 40% of its GDP, and any such move would have crippled the economy.
After a week of strikes, demonstration, rallies, workers clashing with police, numerous deaths, injuries, and arrests, the government have reinstated the fuel subsidies that when originally scrapped, led to the troubles.
Unions are describing it as a victory for the workers, who have seen little or no benefit from living in an oil rich country.
Today’s developments are not a total victory, as the subsidies have been reinstated to around 60% of the previous level. However, in a country where most people live on less than $2 a day, it makes a huge difference.
Early in the day, the government deployed soldiers across several Nigerian cities, and fired live rounds into the air, in an attempt to stop marches and rallies starting again following the weekend break. So it was a surprise to Nigerians when the President announced his climb down, as when they had seen the soldiers, they feared the worst.