(Bloomberg) -- A Nigerian industrial court on Monday barred the country’s main labor union from stopping work to protest the removal of gasoline subsidies that cost $10 billion last year. 

The government had urged the industrial court to prevent the Nigerian Labour Congress, an umbrella union of civil servants and public sector workers, from withdrawing their services because it is capable of “disrupting economic activities, the health and education sector,”  according to court documents seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by Abiodun Oladunjoye, information director in the presidency. The court granted the order pending a date that will be fixed for a hearing of the government’s arguments. 

The NLC on Friday had announced that it would embark on a week-long warning strike starting June 7 to protest a decision by the nation’s newly inaugurated President Bola Tinubu to do away with the subsidies that have been in place for decades and made the gasoline price in Africa’s largest oil producer one of the lowest globally. 

Pump prices of the fuel have more than doubled since President Tinubu announced an end to the subsidies in his inauguration speech on May 29.  

The labor unions said the the action has raised the cost of living in Africa’s most populous country, where more than 40% of the people live in extreme poverty and the inflation rate rose to an 18-year high of 22.2% in April. They are demanding that the government reverse the policy. 



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