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Nigerian government, oil unions meet Thursday in bid to end strike

The Nigerian government and oil workers' unions are meeting Thursday afternoon for talks aimed at ending a strike begun Monday, union officials said.

"The rescheduled meeting with the government is taking place today by 3 pm (1400 GMT)," Isaac Aberare, spokesman for the Pengassan and Nupeng oil workers' unions told Platts. "Right now the two unions are strategizing on our position ahead of the meeting."

The unions and government representatives were originally billed to meet Tuesday.

Although the strike has yet to have any impact on Nigeria's oil exports, unions officials have indicated the action could hit crude loadings.

A Shell spokesman said the company was still monitoring the situation.

Thursday's meeting comes as Nigeria's state security service said the strike, which has so far hit fuel supply and distribution in most of the country, was caused by a labor dispute at the local subsidiary of French oil group Total.

A Department of State Security spokeswoman said Thursday unions were aggrieved that Total E&P Nigeria Ltd. refused to reinstate a sacked employee who was an executive member of the white-collar Pengassan union, despite DSS intervention.

Total said in an email to Platts that the employee was sacked for being absent from work without permission.

Total said the dispute was already being looked into by the Ministry of Labor before unions opted for a strike.

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