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Oil Prices Break $50 A Barrel Mark
Nigeria workers general strike threat
WORLD OIL prices continue to rise with the price of US light crude breaking the $50 a barrel mark for a period last week - its highest price for 21 years.
The inexorable rise in oil prices reflects the capitalists' concerns over the security of supplies and increases in demand for the commodity from 'booming' China. Also, the recent spate of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico has led to a short-term disruption of supplies
The intensifying insurgency in Iraq, where oil pipelines and installations are frequently targeted by guerrillas, is adversely affecting supplies. Now, an indigenous rebel group in the oil -producing Niger delta area of Nigeria is threatening to attack installations. In response, Shell and Agip have evacuated 'non-essential workers'.
Moreover, Nigeria's Obasanjo government has again allowed companies to increase domestic fuel prices - this time up by 25%. Similar price hikes led to two general strikes this year by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), in which members of the Democratic Socialist Movement - the Socialist Party's Nigerian counterpart - played a key role. The NLC has threatened another general strike beginning on 11 October.
The latest price increase followed a ruling by the Federal High Court making it illegal for the NLC to call a general strike.
This court ruling came after anti-union legislation was passed by the federal parliament outlawing picketing and making it illegal for workers in so-called essential services to strike.
In The Socialist 2 October 2004:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis