Nigeria's Pengassan Oil Union on Strike to Protest Job Cuts

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A Nigerian oil union said it began an indefinite strike to protest unfair labor practices at a local petroleum-exploration company.

The union, which represents managerial employees in the oil industry, stopped working after talks late Sunday between its leaders, Nigeria’s labor minister and officials of Neconde Energy Ltd. to avert the action were deadlocked, Babatunde Oke, a spokesman for the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, or Pengassan, said by phone today from Lagos, the commercial capital. Talks will resume by 11 a.m. local time, he said.

Long lines of cars were forming at fuel stations on Monday following the strike as people anticipate supply shortages because of the strike, Lagos-based CSL Research said in an emailed note to clients.

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, pumped 1.69 million barrels of crude in November. Disputes over job cuts between Nigeria’s oil unions and energy producers have been rife in the past year. A similar dispute a year ago between Pengassan and Exxon Mobil Corp. impacted on crude loading as union members protested against job cuts for almost a fortnight.

While the current strike won’t immediately impact crude production and loading, it may worsen local gasoline distribution if allowed to continue, Oke said.

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