8,000 workers embarked on the strike to force the government to pay outstanding subsidies due to independent marketers that import and distribute petroleum in Nigeria. The independent marketers had threatened to shut down their operations and lay off workers if the matter was not resolved by the end of July.
According to Isaac Aberare, Acting General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), about 75 per cent of the striking workers belong to the union. The remaining striking workers came from sectors that support the petroleum industry, such as transport. The successful strike action in support of the demands of the independent marketers, who are responsible for most of formal employment in the sector, also gives NUPENG a stronger bargaining position in future negotiations in the sector.
At a dialogue held between stakeholders, the union also secured commitment from the government for the rehabilitation of the local petroleum industry and supporting infrastructure, in particular poorly maintained roads. The union argued that Nigeria needs to decrease its dependence on foreign imports and rebuild the local petroleum industry to achieve self sufficiency.