Mumbai: Nearly 55,000 officers of state-run oil companies have decided to strike work indefinitely from 7 January to seek higher wages, Association of Scientific & Technical Officer’s, vice-president, PK Sharma told reporters here on Tuesday.
The officers of 14 PSUs including ONGC, BPCL, HPCL, GAIL, OIL, Balmer and Lawrie and Cochin refinery have agreed to participate in the said strike.
We are not going to produce any oil and gas as well as there will be no supply of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) from Wednesday onwards, he said adding that the loss is estimated at Rs2,000 crore per day due to this strike.
Oil Sector Officers’ Association (OSOA) said that it has resorted to this move after exhausting all channels.
Earlier, executives rejected the government offer of talks on their wage demands and decided to go on strike, even as oil minister Murli Deora once again appealed to them to call off the agitation plans.
The Oil Sector Officers Association (OSOA) is protesting against a pay increase smaller than it had demanded.
“We are only being offered verbal assurances and there is nothing concrete,” OSOA president Amit Kumar said.
Kumar, who on Monday met BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani on the issue, said no talks were planned with the government. “There is no point talking to Deora or the petroleum ministry as they have nothing to offer us.”
Deora asked executives not to strike as the nation is going through a difficult economic phase even as it grappled with terrorism originating from foreign soil.
“A strike in the oil sector can cripple the economy and cause severe hardship to citizens,” he said.
“We are not vindictive against our own officers. All we want is that the economy is not be impacted and citizens are spared of any hardship.”
Deora on Tuesday morning spoke to Home Minister P Chidambaram and several state chief ministers, including Ashok Chavan of Maharasthra and Tarun Gagoi of Assam, for safety and security of the oil installations during the agitation.
He also wrote to all the chief ministers, asking them to invoke Essential Supplies Maintenance Act (ESMA) to ensure that auto and cooking fuel supplies are not choked. Punitive National Security Act (NSA) would be invoked in states that do not have ESMA.
Also, contempt proceedings against OSOA office bearers has been initiated in high courts, which had barred the body from striking till next date of hearing in February.