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Nigerian Oil Companies Boost Offer

September 20, 2000

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) _ A six-day strike by Nigeria’s oil workers ended Wednesday after unions accepted a pay-raise offer from oil companies.

Unions accepted a 20 percent pay hike offer at a late-night bargaining session on Tuesday, said Joseph Akilaja, secretary-general of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers. The unions had been seeking a 25 percent raise, while the companies had been offering 10 percent.

The strike had taken quick and damaging effect in Nigeria, with gas stations rapidly running out of fuel and most trucks and many cars disappearing from the normally jammed streets of the commercial capital of Lagos.

Bus fares more than doubled in days, and Nigerians saw fourfold increases in the price of gasoline on the black market and in the kerosene most depend upon for fuel.

Akilaja said life should be returning to normal in Lagos and other cities within days.

Managers until Tuesday were offering a 10 percent increase to the two unions representing workers at the seven, mainly Western oil marketing companies operating in Nigeria.

Nigeria has a long history of fuel shortages despite its status as the world’s sixth-largest oil producer. Until this month’s strike-induced shortage, the fuel crunches had eased markedly with the return of civilian rule last year.

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